Electrolytes and Pushups


Friday night, I came down with a violent case of food poisoning or the flu, I am not sure which. Whatever it was led to copious amounts of vomiting and a general feeling of impending death. Around 3:30 Saturday morning, I was struck by a sudden need for water. Not wanting to die a thirsty woman, I greedily gulped down 1/2 of a BPA free bottle’s worth of the delicious liquid. As I was doing it, the rational part of my brain whispered, “this is not a good idea. You aren’t going to be able to keep this down. You need electrolytes.” 45 minutes later, unfortunately, the little voice in my head proved to be right. This led me to ponder why DO electrolytes help keep fluids down? And when is electrolyte replenishment necessary?
Electrolytes, according to http://health.howstuffworks.com/question565.htm, are electrically charged ions. In the body, electrolyte carry electrical impulses across cell membranes to other cells. It is important to maintain a balance of electrolytes, the common ones being sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate, sulfate. Our bodies lose electrolytes through sweat, chronic vomiting, and diarrhea. Our electrolyte balance can also be thrown off if we drink too much water, or we lose salt faster than we lose water, a condition referred to as hyponatremia. According to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000394.htm, hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder in the United States, and can cause brain swelling, and eventually death.
Electrolytes, particularly salt, regulate the amount of water in the body (http://www.medicinenet.com/electrolytes/article.htm). As a result, if you are dehydrated, and you consume an electrolyte enhanced beverage such as Gatorade, the cells will be able to restore their correct balance of water and electrolytes. Gatorade is high in calories and sugar, and, in my opinion, should only be used after vigorous physical activity where there has been substantial sweat loss, or if you are unable to keep food and fluids down due to illness.
The push up is one of my favorite upper body exercises. It works the shoulder girdle, stabilizing muscles of the spine, and integrates the chest and shoulders together nicely. Plus, there are tons of variations, so they never get too easy. To do a push up properly, it is important to keep the abdominal muscles braced and prevent the scapula from winging. If you don’t have the upper body or core strength to do them on the floor, do them with your hands elevated on a bench or bar, or you can do them on your knees. If pushups are fairly easy for you, you can progress to doing them with your hands on the stability ball or with your feet elevated in the TRX. Enjoy, and always make sure you stop before your form deteriorates.
Yours in health and wellness,
Jenn