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Exercise & Sports Hydration: How Water, Electrolytes & Loading Boost Peak Performance

If you take exercise and sport seriously then understanding hydration and how to best boost peak performance can not only improve your results but also help your body be at its best both on and off the field.

In addition to drinking water and eating a healthy diet which provides enough energy, many of us also reach for energy and sports drinks to give our bodies a boost and help replace electrolytes and minerals that we lose when sweating.

However, it's important to keep in mind that not all hydration products and supplements are created equal so it pays to have a good idea about how best you can hydrate your body when exercising or playing sports... 

What Is Exercise & Sports Hydration?

Simply put, hydration is the absorption of water. Body hydration is all about getting enough water or watery fluid into our bodies in order for them to work and perform properly. Exercise and sports hydration is body hydration applied to the context of prolonged and or high-intensity physical exertion whereby the body requires extra assistance in order to be and stay properly hydrated.

Why Adequate Hydration Is Essential For The Body?

Proper hydration is important for many reasons, not just in terms of general health but also for its role to help promote peak performance and sporting excellence. Staying adequately hydrated is vital for the following reasons:

  • Stopping thirst
  • Lubrication for the joints
  • Delivering nutrients to the body's cells
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Maintaining organ functions
  • Improving sleep quality,
  • Better cognition
  • Better mood

Avoid Dehydration

With dehydration, more water leaves the body than enters it. Even being slightly dehydrated can cause problem and affect not just physical performance, but also health. When we lose fluid, we lose chemicals that are essential for our metabolism. Our bodies are about 75 percent water and having sufficient water is of great importance.

Although we lose water all the time through breathing, sweating, urination, and other body functions, there is an amazing "water management system" in our bodies keeping our water levels correct. As an example, when we feel thirsty this system is working and telling us to increase our fluid intake.

Usually, it is possible to reverse dehydration by simply increasing the intake of fluids. However, if dehydration is very severe then medical attention must be sought immediately.

Exercise & Sports Hydration Infographic

Why Proper Hydration Is Essential For High-Intensity Exercise & Sports

Everyone needs to be properly hydrated, however, if you are exercising or practising sport you need to be more conscious about how you hydrate your body in order to be able to perform better and for longer.

Due to the body having to work harder and expend more energy during times of intense exercise or physical endurance you need to make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of water frequently in order to avoid dehydration. In the quest for sporting success, many often forget that water is the body's most important nutrient, performing the many important functions mentioned above.

Even before exercising starts, proper hydration needs to be practised during the whole day. Anything less will compromise peak performance in either training or competition.

Learn More: How To Boost Hydration Naturally & Sustain It All Day

Once exercise has started, it is even more important to keep being properly hydrated. The longer and the more intense the exercise, the more important that the  body is properly hydrated. When you're performing vigorous exercise this is essential as without enough fluids during extended exercise sessions body functions are undermined and performance will suffer. In addition to ensuring you're replacing fluid you're losing, it's important to also consider the subject or electrolytes which are also expelled during intense exercise due to increased sweating.

What Are Electrolytes?

Simply speaking, electrolytes are chemicals with an electric charge. They are minerals that must be in your diet. Of particular importance for exercise and spots are the electrolytes:

  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium

Each of these minerals is important in energy production and muscle functioning.

Learn More: Natural Alkaline Minerals: Health Benefits Of Phosphate, Bicarbonate & Essential Minerals

Why are electrolytes so important for exercise, sport and physical endurance?

The reason is that they play vital roles in hydration and muscle action.

Even with as small a decline in body fluids as 2%, all sorts of problems can arise including stomach upset, problems with body temperature regulation, muscle cramps, loss of concentration and mental focus, and lightheadedness.
Electrolytes and water in your body work should work in harmony.

How Electrolytes Work With Water

Electrolytes work with water in all sorts of ways but in the body, their interaction with water is well documented. They are dissolved in body fluids. They help send water and nutrients to those parts of the body where they are most needed. When  exercising or practising sports then this need is increased.

Under the sort of stress that high-performance sport causes, the fluid balance must be optimized in order to perform at one's best. Electrolytes help maintain this fluid balance within the body's cells.

As well as the maintenance of fluid balance, electrolytes assist the muscles in both contraction and relaxation. They are also involved in the transmission of impulses through your nervous system to different parts of the body.

An important electrolyte is phosphate, which is a combination of phosphorus and oxygen. Supplementing with phosphate has been shown to improve both peak performance and physical endurance.

Why?

The reason is ATP. ATP is the acronym for Adenosine Triphosphate. ATP is the most important energy carrier in every living organism.

What Is Phosphate Loading?

The taking of phosphate supplements to improve physical endurance and peak performance is called phosphate loading.

Phosphate loading increases the supply of phosphates for ATP production.
There is some complex chemistry occurring in your body as it uses ATP. When a body cell needs energy, ATP is broken down through a process called hydrolysis.

Phosphate loading improves energy capacity and endurance. As these improve, so does the likelihood of performing well in aerobic exercise. There has been a lot of research on this and there have been studies, which have shown great improvements in VO2 max after supplementation.

You may wonder what VO2 max is. It is the volume of oxygen used by the body during maximum physical effort. VO2 max is a widely used tool to measure fitness levels.

Learn MoreTop Natural Ways To Boost Physical Endurance, Stamina & Peak Performance

Bicarbonate loading can also help sportspeople boost peak performance, particularly those involved in what is called anaerobic sports such as sprints, gymnastics, throwing, and weightlifting.

What Is Bicarbonate Loading?

Bicarbonate Loading is an ergogenic aid (aid to sporting performance) where sodium bicarbonate is administered before training or competing in sporting events and competitions of short-duration and high-intensity. The purpose is the neutralisation of the lactic acid, which is produced during this sort of exercise. Lactic acid produces the sore muscles we all experience after intense effort.
Research shows and many sportspeople can testify that bicarbonate loading can help enhance aerobic sports.

The Problem With Most Exercise & Sports Hydration Drinks

Traditional sports drinks were created back in the 1960's to rehydrate athletes quickly, but because they are formulated with high sugar and acidity they do more harm than good.

Although these hydration products may give you a quick burst of energy and replace lost electrolytes, they can be addictive, wreak havoc on the body's pH balance and make you "crash" once the initial hit wears off.

Learn MoreAlkaline Versus Acidic: What is the difference & effect on your body?

The Takeaway

  • Making sure you are properly hydrated and sufficiently replacing lost electrolytes is essential for exercise and sports
  • Many popular brands of energy and sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar and are acidic which can negatively impact the body and health
  • You can help boost peak performance by loading with natural alkaline minerals, phosphate to increase endurance, while bicarbonate can help reduce lactic acid build-up

Phosphate & Bicarbonate Loading For Peak Performance

How Phenoh PERFORM Boosts Hydration, Endurance & Peak Performance

With the revolutionary Perfect pH® system, Phenoh PERFORM for Endurance works with the body, and not against it. PERFORM Endurance SuperBooster has a unique acid-free method that utilizes the alkaline minerals Phosphate and Bicarbonate described above to combat acidic build-up, improve oxygen delivery, and quickly address the hydration needs of the body.

The future of Sports Hydration, PERFORM is additionally infused with a synergistic blend of Superfoods to combat stress and inflammation while enhancing athletic endurance during competition or training.

Honey

Honey is a superb booster of energy before exercise begins and once it has, it provides carbohydrates for glycogen restoration and blood sugar control.

Organic Beetroot

Beetroot contains many vital micronutrients including Vitamins A, B, and C; antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, and other important chemicals. This superfood can help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increase exercise performance.

Purple Sweet Potato

A phytonutrient called anthocyanin that gives the purple variety of sweet potato its distinctive colour. Anthocyanin assists the performance of endurance exercises and helps with post-workout and post-event inflammation when muscles and joints are suffering from the exertion.

Himalayan Rock Salt

After what we said earlier about the importance of the electrolyte sodium for athletes, Himalayan salt is included as an alternative to table salt, which is usually highly refined and adulterated with other chemicals. The sodium in this natural salt helps the maintenance of optimal fluid balance and so protects against dehydration.

Learn More: Health Benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt & Why To Add It To Your Diet

In addition to these superfoods, PERFORM has Vitamin C, D, and Zinc to further enhance performance.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is extremely important for our bodies. It stimulates healing and assists the body to absorb iron. Without it, endurance and all hard training are so much more difficult, if not impossible.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is very important for healthy bones. This is because the body is only able to absorb calcium, a critical part of bone construction when vitamin D is present.

Zinc

Zinc is very important in all the body's biochemical processes. A deficiency can have serious consequences such as body weight loss, fatigue, and decreased physical endurance.

Healthy Water Additive | Alkaline Flavoring Packets

The Next Generation of Sports Hydration, powered by the revolutionary science of Perfect pH® Rapid Hydration to quickly offset acidic load and rapidly deliver the nutrients the body needs to hydrate and fuel athletic endurance.

Phenoh PERFORM is available in delicious SuperBerry Flavor with easy-open, travel friendly single serve packets...

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