Nut Lab #7 The importance of sodium
The arrival of summer means an exponential increase in temperatures, which causes many of us to avoid riding during the hours when the sun is at its highest. The reason is simple: we get dehydrated more often and everything becomes difficult.
The explanation for this can be found in sweating. The hotter it gets and the harder we work out, the more our body sweats. This is our body's technique for regulating its own internal temperature, and depends to a large extent on the intensity of the workout, the outside temperature, the gender and other factors.
When we fail to maintain good hydration based on water and electrolytes, the blood becomes more viscous and the heart rate increases. This makes the heart work harder, which has a direct impact on sporting performance, which is clearly affected.
What are electrolytes and where to find them?
Electrolytes are mineral salts that are present in our bodies, both in the blood and in other fluids. Some of the best known are sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium.
These play a very important role during sport, as they are responsible for maintaining optimal muscle function. Sodium and potassium, for example, promote muscle contraction, so a decrease in these salts could lead to muscle spasms or cramps.
For this reason, it is very important to restore these electrolytes by liquids or salt tablets. The most important mineral salt during sport is sodium, as it allows us to increase the absorption rate of sugars and reduce the flow of urine.
Depending on the climatic conditions and the duration of the effort to be made, the amount of sodium consumed should be between 0.4 and 0.8 grams per litre of water.
Be careful! You should pay attention to the labels on sports drinks, as many of them do not contain the required amounts. If this is the case, you will need to ingest salts in some other way.
So you know, in this season of long days, hot sun and high temperatures, it is very important that you keep well hydrated with water and electrolytes, especially sodium.