The summer heat waves don’t seem to be subsiding, but don’t that let be a reason for your Bikram Yoga practice to take a back seat. Replenishing your body with adequate fluids is an obvious solution; however making sure you’re repleting your electrolytes is just as important.
Electrolytes help regulate fluid balance in your body and, when present in proper amounts, ensure that your muscle fibers contract efficiently and powerfully during exercise. They also help regulate your blood pressure, blood pH and nerve function. If your electrolytes are out of balance, you may experience symptoms such as muscle cramps and twitching, heart palpitations and weakness. Sodium and potassium are the electrolytes most subject to imbalance as a result of sweating during intense exercise.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, and lightheadedness or face numbness during your Bikram Yoga class, it’s most likely due to a loss of electrolytes. Supplementing with electrolyte enhanced drinks every 30 minutes can help to better prevent and even replete your electrolyte stores. However, choosing the right type of electrolyte enhanced beverage is very important.
Most people automatically think of Powerade or Gatorade as the best electrolyte supplement beverage. However, these drinks are filled with sugar (empty calories) as well as a high acidity. They can cause unnecessary bloating, and provide more sugar than anything else. The best suggestion is create your own electrolyte enhanced beverage by using electrolyte packages, or even Emergen-C. Another option which is available in the yoga studio is calorie free electrolyte enhanced waters such as “Smart Water”. These bottled waters typically have magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium added to it. It is always important to keep in mind to be hydrating before and after class with an additional 64-80 oz of water above your normal consumption when practicing Bikram.
Other hidden sources of electrolytes can come from food as well. Raw fruits and vegetables are healthy, natural sources of electrolytes. Bananas, tomatoes and lemon juice are high in potassium. Calcium and magnesium can be found in green, leafy vegetables. So be sure to include these fruits and vegetables as a part of your balanced daily intake.
So next time you see the temperature outside reading 99 degrees, eat a banana, grab a smart water and just think to yourself… what’s another 6 degrees?
Laurie Taunton MS R.D.
Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 (10-ounce) bag baby spinach
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
Mix together the sugar, mayonnaise, fat free milk, poppy seeds and white wine vinegar in a small bowel stirring it with a whisk.
Place lettuce in a large bowl; add strawberries and almonds, tossing to combine.