The Importance of Electrolyte Replacement

The Importance of Electrolyte Replacement

Rehydration after any activity that causes sweating is important. Drinking plenty of plain water after class may be sufficient for someone who maintains a healthy diet, particularly if they eat some fruits or vegetables soon after class. But for profuse sweaters, or someone who might not have the opportunity to eat after class, plain water is not enough. When we sweat during exercise we also lose electrolytes, typically high levels of sodium and smaller amounts of potassium. In order to rehydrate effectively these electrolytes need to be replaced. That’s why we have electrolyte packets for sale and conspicuously placed in the lobby. But you don’t need to buy those because making your own rehydration drink is easy.

This is my formula:

  • 32 ounces of plain water
  • the juice of one fresh squeezed lime (or lemon)
  • a couple pinches of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of simple syrup (sugar water)

You can adjust the proportions according to taste but don’t leave anything out. The sugar is included not only to mellow the taste of the salt and lime. It also improves the intestinal uptake of water and sodium.

To properly reyhdrate the amount of this mixture consumed should be greater than the amount of sweat loss. A general rule of thumb is to drink until thirst is satisfied but if you want to be precise you can weigh yourself before and after class. Water weighs about 8.3 pounds per gallon.

To give you some perspective, I once measured a 7.5 pound weight loss during one Bikram Yoga class (I’m a very heavy sweater). That means I need to drink almost a gallon of water to fully rehydrate. I usually eat very soon after class so I get most of my electrolytes through food but I still must drink a lot of water for 2-3 hours after each class.

 

Written by Eric

Eric Jennings practices and teaches yoga in the style and method originated by Bishnu Ghosh, acclaimed Indian physical culturist. He holds certifications from Ghosh Yoga College of India (2016), Yogic Physical Culture Academy (2013) and Bikram Yoga, Inc. (2001). He has studied with Muktamala Mitra, Jared McCann, Mary Jarvis, Tony Sanchez, Marlysa Sullivan, William Huffschmidt, Yoganand Michael Carrol and Bikram Choudhury. With a background in theatre and performance one of Eric's strengths as an instructor is his ability to offer clear and accessible instruction making all practitioners, no matter their level of experience, feel safe, supported and encouraged in their practice.