I originally entitled this post “Hidden Dangers of Sun Poisoning,” but the sun isn’t as poisonous as I thought; so, I took the sweat the route.
The Alarming Incident:
A few weeks ago, I went for a pleasant 9 mile run. Armed with Chia goo and water, I felt fantastic! It was about 80 degrees; so, I was not surprised to be soaked in a brine of my waters as I reached the mile. I was, however, slightly surprised by the army of salt cakes on my arms and legs. But aside from a slight back ache and tender knees, I felt great.
Little did I know that things were about to take a turn for the worse. About ten minutes AFTER my POST RUN stretch and rolling pin massage, a sudden wave of fatigue and weakness knocked me to bed, then, under two sets of covers in 80 degree weather, chills rattled me, then stomach cramps stabbed my guts, and then the punch of nausea almost made me vomit. Suddenly I found myself foggy, tired, and completely out of sorts, I had my phone ready to dial 911.
What’s going on? I thought. I’m not dehydrated because I wasn’t showing any of the telltale symptoms.
I forced myself out of bed, made myself drink some water to eat an apple and an orange. Soon after, the symptoms diminished. After some quick online research, I figured out what had struck me: I was suffering from an electrolyte imbalance.
What are electrolytes and what role do they play in the body?
Electrolytes are the secret power juices for the nerves, heart, and other muscles. Their chemical charge empowers cells to receive and transmit vital electric impulses.
The Symptoms of Electrolyte Imbalance:
- Stomach/Muscle Cramps
- Nausea/vomiting (vomiting is serious and may require and IV drip because it will produce more fluid loss, thereby exacerbating the electrolyte imbalance)
- Confusion/Foggy Brain/Dizziness
- Slurred Speech
Cause of Electrolyte Imbalance:
Sweating drains the body of electrolytes, shattering the balance of the body’s natural chemistry, thereby leading to post run misery aka post run nasties. The symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are specifically designed to STOP fluid loss. The fatigue, nausea, and cramps keep you on your ass so you won’t lose more fluids and thereby kill yourself.
Common electrolytes lost during strenuous excercise:
Easy Fixes for Electrolyte Imbalance:
Post-exercise is the most important time for electrolyte replacement, especially if you’re unable to consume sufficient amounts of fluid during the workout. Fluid losses can be replaced by plain water only if taken along with a sufficient amount of food, preferably salty carbohydrates.
You can drink your own urine or you can drink Gatorade. Your urine is probably healthier, but not as tasty. In other words, Gatorade and other sports drinks are packed with weird chemical dyes, preservatives, and other harmful ingredients.
Foods contains far more electrolytes than sports drinks. A medium banana contains about 450mg of potassium, whereas Gatorade provides 30mg per 8-ounce serving.
My Electrolyte Post Recovery Snack Pack/Energy Cocktail:
- A Juicy Orange (Totally hits the spot after a long run.)
- A Banana (I eat them in small pieces. Very slowly. I’m usually NOT hungry after a run, so I sort of have to force myself to eat small pieces.)
- Coconut Water (It has lots of super vitamins, it tastes nutritious, and it’s cheap. It’s pretty strong for a post run beverage. My stomach is usually not up for straight coconut water; so, I cut it with some regular water–just enough to dilute the flavor. Sometimes, I even add a pinch of Stevia to make it bit more palatable. I’m experimenting with Coconut Water Chia Goo combo–I’ll post recipes soon.)
The electrolytes in coconut water, especially potassium and sodium, make it a super hydrating beverage. Coconut water contains about 600 mg of potassium and 252 mg of sodium per serving, making it an excellent post exercise recovery drink.
You can buy a coconut, bust a hole in its top, and drink cocnut water raw or you cheat and buy some from Amazon. This pack qualifies for Super Saving Shipping 🙂