Just as it is important to hydrate before coming to class, it is equally important to be sure the body has a full electrolyte supply. Losing these essential minerals is inevitable through working out in the heat and through excessive sweating. Even though this is a side effect, the benefits of a regular Bikram yoga practice outweigh any consequential effect. And with thoughtful preparation before practice, you can ensure the body has a full supply of electrolytes not only through hydrating fluids, but also through the foods you eat.
What are electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals consisting of potassium, sodium, calcium, chloride, and magnesium which have an electric charge. They are needed to balance water levels in the body, move nutrients in and wastes out of cells, help ensure proper function of nerves, muscles, heart, and brain.
Electrolyte imbalance is caused by both dehydration and over hydration in the body. Certain medicines, illnesses, excessive sweating, and liver and kidney malfunction can also cause an imbalance.
Symptoms include fatigue, confusion, muscle spasms and cramps, irregular heartbeat, changes in blood pressure.
While sports drinks and coconut water may be the first things that come to mind as a way to replenish, there are numerous foods you can eat to keep things balanced.
Electrolyte-rich foods include:
Turkey, chicken, and fish
Canned soups and vegetables
Before coming to class it is important to hydrate and make sure electrolyte levels are in check. You can do this by eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, with foods rich in electrolytes and water supply.