- 4 Jul 2011
Electrolytes are elements like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium that are needed for the body to function properly. These elements help to regulate fluids, and they're essential for muscle and nerve function. When you exercise, you sweat out electrolytes--especially if you work out for longer than 40 minutes at a time. You can avoid the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance, such as headaches, dry mouth, nausea and fatigue, by hydrating your body and slowly introducing electrolytes back into your bloodstream.
- Weigh yourself before you work out, making sure to remove shoes.
Make a note of your weight--you'll compare this figure to your weight after working out to determine how much fluid you sweat out.
- Drink 4 to 6 oz. of fluid for every 15 minutes you work out.
Avoid the sports drinks and the water infused with vitamins unless you plan on working out for more than an hour. Don't overdo it with water, or you may actually make it more difficult for your body to absorb nutrients after you complete your workout.
- Weigh yourself again. Make sure to remove your shoes and any damp clothing and wait to use the bathroom until after you weigh yourself.
Calculate the difference between your starting weight and your finishing weight. Use this figure to avoid dehydration and restore electrolyte imbalance. Drink 20 oz. of fluids per pound you've lost.
- Eat a banana after your workout. Bananas are high in potassium, an electrolyte that's most often lost during excessive exercise.
Eat slowly and wash it down with 8 oz. of water.
- Drink a sports drink that contains a combination of electrolytes.
Ideal levels of potassium in a sports drink are 200 to 250 mg per 16 ounces. You can get sodium in the foods you eat, but potassium is harder to replace. Pick an "isotonic" sports drink for quick absorption.
- Eat a small meal within 2 hours after you exercise.
Replenish the imbalance of magnesium by including leafy green vegetables like spinach into your meal. Add a glass of milk or top a baked potato with yogurt to get a balance of both potassium and calcium.
written by an eHow Contributor