Wednesday Wisdom from Framar Health - Importance of Electrolytes
07 August 2019
Wednesday Wisdom with Sarah Trimble Nutrition from Framar Health, providing expert nutritional advice & recipes to help support your marathon training.
What are electrolytes and why are they so important to half marathon training?
- Sports drinks are often marketed as a source of electrolytes but how do they support exercise performance and half marathon training and do we really need extra electrolytes every time we exercise?
- Electrolytes are substances that conduct electricity when dissolved in water and these electrical currents are essential for a number of our body functions – especially functions that relate to exercise. Electrolytes regulate the nerve impulses that control muscle function and also control the flow of fluid in and out of our cells ensuring proper hydration. Electrolyte nutrients include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
- Without the correct balance of electrolytes, your muscles may become weak and you may experience cramps, twitches or spasms. For example, a muscle needs calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium to contract and relax. When these substances become imbalanced, it can lead to either muscle weakness or muscle cramping.
- For most of us, sufficient levels of electrolytes can be obtained from our diets - for the duration of your half marathon training it is important to try and get plenty of calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium in your diet – great sources of these nutrients include green leafy vegetables, apricots, avocadoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, celery and cow’s milk.
- On very hot days and for longer runs (if you are training for 2 hours or more) you will need to replace sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium lost through sweat. Drinking plain water can be counterproductive as this can further dilute blood electrolyte levels. On those days when you are out for a long run you should have an electrolyte based drink.
- Viridian Electrolyte Fix and Hi 5 electrolyte drink are great alternatives to sports drinks that are often packed full of sugar and artificial flavourings.
For more information on Framar Health, Official Nutrition Partner for the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and Half Marathon, please click HERE.