With fitness now more ingrained in our day-to-day lives than ever – whether that’s a post-work HIIT class or a hardcore Tough Mudder challenge – an increasing number of people are giving real thought to the way in which they fuel and hydrate their body. Among the most discussed, but not necessarily widely understood topics in this field is electrolytes; almost everyone knows that they’re important, but far fewer of us actually know why.
With that in mind, we asked the team behind Lucozade Sport Fitwater, which has been formulated to contain four key electrolytes – magnesium, calcium, sodium & chloride – to fill us in on what the actually do and why they’re so crucial.
Why are electrolytes so important?
If we look at what we lose when we’re active - more specifically, what we lose during a thirty-minute workout – we are likely to sweat out up to half a litre of fluid. As a result, we lose water and key electrolytes (minerals) in various amounts, and become dehydrated. Dehydration is not just about volume of water we lose but also the imbalance of these electrolytes. It’s essential, therefore, that we rehydrate and replenish these electrolytes as we exercise.
Electrolytes are minerals and we get them from our diet: foods we eat and fluids we drink. They have two key functions in our bodies – cell communication and hydration.
Firstly, electrolytes are present in all our body cells, from the skin cells to brain and muscle cells, and can move from one cell to another, taking water with them, which keeps the body hydrated. We already know that hydration is essential for an active lifestyle with 70% of our body weight is made up of water meaning that when we’re hydrated we feel our best.
So, when hydration is limited, the body comes under a lot of strain and basic processes in the muscle, brain and cardiovascular system are impaired. This is why we feel our heart rate increase, muscles start to fatigue, it’s harder to focus and concentrate and ultimately exercise becomes harder and less enjoyable.
The second purpose is to help our cells communicate by being active messengers, for example, when you move, your muscles contract to facilitate this movement – muscle cells communicate by using electrolytes to make sure that movement happens efficiently.
This understanding played an integral part of the formulation and development process behind the creation of Lucozade Sport Fitwater, explains Kat Shaw, Sports Scientist at Lucozade Ribena Suntory: “Replacing what we lose is important to keep our body functioning at its best and helps us to retain more of the water we consume, contributing to hydration. People are actively looking for electrolytes in their water, and Fitwater is the only sports water to contain significant amounts of sodium, chloride, calcium and magnesium.
So what does each electrolyte actually do?
WATER: Helps Hydration
Staying hydrated is important for your body and brain’s normal functioning. It is recommended that you consume two litres of water from all sources per day. The more you exercise, the more water you will need.
MAGNESIUM: Helps Prevent Fatigue
Magnesium contributes to our electrolyte balance and helps reduce our feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
CALCIUM: Helps Muscles
Besides helping maintain normal teeth and bones, calcium helps our muscles and nervous system to function properly.
SODIUM & CHLORIDE: Helps You Replenish
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Sodium ensures your muscles can absorb more fluid than just water alone. As the main electrolytes you lose in sweat, the addition of sodium & chloride help to replenish what you have lost during exercise.
As a purified spring water with added electrolytes, Lucozade Sport Fitwater contains zero calories and zero sugar and has been formulated to help replenish the fluid and electrolytes lost through sweat. This makes it your perfect exercise partner, making the difference between a workout and a great workout.