The importance of electrolyte in the body

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
Hi again.
About three years back i took up cycling again. Initially it was just simply to get out from the four walls and rediscover myself. Cycling was by and large, nice steady rides taking in the view's and a chance to unwind and escape some bad things that were going on at the time.
Over the three years though, my cycling has somewhat mutated to a higher plain. The weight has dropped off and I've been cycling further and faster as times gone by. It's now turned into something where I'm striving to get stronger and smash personal goals and compete with club members. I've done a couple of century rides this year and numerous +60/80 mile rides. The encouragement and advice has been fantastic by fellow cyclists but im still on a learning curve.
This year in particular though I've really struggled in the recovery from bike rides. Most bike rides ive do im nearly always spent. If I do a short ride, i always put in a high intensity workout, but whilst the longer ones i pace them slower but still give it all i can to the end.
Im absolutely drenched with sweat after each ride to the point my helmet straps and clothing are white with salt.
Lately I've been feeling really unwell of late after a good hard bike ride. For days after ive been feeling sick, tired, weak and very difficult to sleep at night.
This is were the learning curve of cycling comes in. Ive been completely ignorant to the importance of rehydration during exercise.
To me rehydration meant drinking plenty of water, but to my cost this is not what it means.
Blissfully ignorant i thought throwing back bottles of water was all that was needed to keep everything tickety boo, until the other week a fellow cyclist pointed out water does not replace your lost salt levels. After a little thought and research it made perfect sense to why I've been feeling so rough the last few months.
So these last few weeks ive been dropping electrolyte tablets in my water bottles and it's been a revelation from virtually day one on how much better I've felt.
As the cycling has ramped up from leisure rides to hard rides ive failed to compensate for the loss of salts, which has resulted in feeling really under the weather.
Most of you good fellow cyclists, most probably all ready know about this, but if like me and you've never considered this importance i hope it's use of some help to you.
Anyway all the very best to all..
 

Edwardoka

Prolix Maximus
Hi again.
About three years back i took up cycling again. Initially it was just simply to get out from the four walls and rediscover myself. Cycling was by and large, nice steady rides taking in the view's and a chance to unwind and escape some bad things that were going on at the time.
Over the three years though, my cycling has somewhat mutated to a higher plain. The weight has dropped off and I've been cycling further and faster as times gone by. It's now turned into something where I'm striving to get stronger and smash personal goals and compete with club members. I've done a couple of century rides this year and numerous +60/80 mile rides. The encouragement and advice has been fantastic by fellow cyclists but im still on a learning curve.
This year in particular though I've really struggled in the recovery from bike rides. Most bike rides ive do im nearly always spent. If I do a short ride, i always put in a high intensity workout, but whilst the longer ones i pace them slower but still give it all i can to the end.
Im absolutely drenched with sweat after each ride to the point my helmet straps and clothing are white with salt.
Lately I've been feeling really unwell of late after a good hard bike ride. For days after ive been feeling sick, tired, weak and very difficult to sleep at night.
This is were the learning curve of cycling comes in. Ive been completely ignorant to the importance of rehydration during exercise.
To me rehydration meant drinking plenty of water, but to my cost this is not what it means.
Blissfully ignorant i thought throwing back bottles of water was all that was needed to keep everything tickety boo, until the other week a fellow cyclist pointed out water does not replace your lost salt levels. After a little thought and research it made perfect sense to why I've been feeling so rough the last few months.
So these last few weeks ive been dropping electrolyte tablets in my water bottles and it's been a revelation from virtually day one on how much better I've felt.
As the cycling has ramped up from leisure rides to hard rides ive failed to compensate for the loss of salts, which has resulted in feeling really under the weather.
Most of you good fellow cyclists, most probably all ready know about this, but if like me and you've never considered this importance i hope it's use of some help to you.
Anyway all the very best to all..
Yes, I completely agree. I never really had issue with salt depletion on big rides until one very hot ride in the south of France completely broke me. I thought it was heat exhaustion at the time, I was wobbly, had tunnel vision, I was in a truly terrible state and had to abandon the stage 10km from the end. I drank a ridiculous amount of water on the ride to try to cool myself off but that only made it worse.

Thankfully the group I was with knew better than I did about such things, a fellow rider gave me a salt tablet the following day and it completely solved it. Now I don't go anywhere without one, just in case.
 
Good morning,

Unfortunately you are not alone.

People in endurance events have been making this mistake for a while despite the death of a 2007 London Marathon runner which was attributed to drinking so much water that he diluted he body salts down to a lethally low level (hyponatraemia).

This individual was reported as being a fitness instructor.

Whilst very uncommon this is not a one off case and what is worrying is that there is a suggestion here https://www.mdalert.com/article/eve...-are-injured-by-hyponatremia-than-dehydration
that taking salt tablets is less effective than might be thought at first glance.

I am really unsure if what I am saying is correct but my understanding is that the sodium levels within a cell are balanced with sodium levels in the body's overall water mass, so in extreme cases you don't need to take just enough salt to top up the deficiency within the cells but to top up the whole body's water mass.

Bye

Ian
 

midlife

Guru
Back in the 70's we bought some green salty stuff in a bottle and added a couple of spoonfuls to our water bottles. The name evades me but was meant to replace salts. Tasted shocking lol. I wondered if the name ended in...ade?

I wonder if it's in the Holdsworth catalogue?
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
I sometimes get headaches the day after a hot ride, possibly due to water/salt balance. I have a fairly haphazard approach to what I drink. Normally water mixed with and whatever takes my fancy along the way Ribena, iced tea OJ etc.

Possibly if I had a more scientific approach this wouldn't happen. A friend of mine carries sachets of diarrhoea rehydration salts for hot day refills. Maybe I should try that.
 
A while ago I linked poor sleep after exercise to electrolytes. I now stick a Zero5 tab in my bottle and have another when I get home. It seemed to mostly cure my bad sleep.
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
Most rides under 50 miles I just carry water, but anything over that and I carry a bottle with at least two High5 Zero tabs in. It definitely reduces cramping post-ride and it also seems to reduce the effect of sun exposure on me as well.

Edit: I carried two bottles on a hot +35° ride this year and it was barely enough, each had three zero tabs in - both got refilled at one point or another and one had two more tabs added. And that was for a 90km ride so for even hotter weather it's important for me to replace the salts and electrolytes, other people may vary.
 
Location
London
Whatever works for you slc, but that seems a high dosage. I thought it was usually one tab per bottle.

I sometimes use half, depending on the ride but I think 1 is probably better - have hit cramps after the ride once or twice.
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
Whatever works for you slc, but that seems a high dosage. I thought it was usually one tab per bottle.

I sometimes use half, depending on the ride but I think 1 is probably better - have hit cramps after the ride once or twice.
Partly I just like the flavour, but I tend to carry one bottle with and one without. I've experimented over a couple of years and found what seems to work for me. I do tend to overheat though when riding, even in winter, so I adjusted my intake upwards to match.
 
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