We all want to age gracefully – feeling good, being happy, healthy, and in decent shape. After all, that’s the only way to ensure that we can enjoy our lives, even as we want to celebrate our birthdays less and less. With that said, in order for that to happen, we need to take care proper care of our bodies – by providing them with proper nutrition, movement, mental stimulation, and supplements.
It’s true that the earlier you start, the better the result will be, but the reality is that a healthy lifestyle has to go on as long as we’re alive. It doesn’t have a time cap, where you do it for 20 years and then just reap the rewards. In fact, it’s a continuous journey that evolves and changes as our needs and lifestyles evolve.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the importance of electrolytes for women over 50 – why are they required, what do they do, and what are some of the best ones you can buy on the market. So, if that sounds like your cup of tea, then please continue reading.
What are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are naturally positive or negative electrical charge substances that dissolve in water. As our bodies are made of around 60% water, nearly all of our cells and fluids contain electrolytes. Their function is to help the body regulate muscle contractions, balance pH levels, keep us feeling hydrated, and more. Vital minerals that are considered electrolytes include magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, and more, all of which are required for our bodies to maintain a ton of vital body functions. Typically, we get electrolytes from the liquids we drink and the food we consume, and we lose them mainly when sweating – more so, in hot weather conditions or during exercise.
Why are Electrolytes Important?
As we grow older, we feel every change and disruption in our bodies more heavily compared to when we were younger. An electrolyte imbalance is often a byproduct of dehydration caused by the loss of minerals. When you consider that the job of the electrolytes is to move electrical signals through your body, which are crucial for the operation of the brain, muscles, and nerves, you can see why having an imbalance would be a problem. Each electrolyte has its specific function that helps our bodies operate, and when there’s a deficiency in one of them, it might cause all kinds of issues. In order to help you understand this better, let’s take a look at what each electrolyte does in the body:
- Calcium: a key mineral for the health of our bones and teeth, as well as the movement of muscles and nerve impulses. As we grow older, calcium becomes even more important as it is vital for the perseverance of proper bone density.
- Magnesium is vital for regulating blood glucose levels, helping nerve and muscle functions, and enhancing the immune system.
- Bicarbonate: helps maintain a balanced pH in the body and regulates the function of the heart.
- Chloride: essential for digestion and, again, an active player in balancing the pH.
- Sodium: controls the fluids in the body, vital for muscle and nerve function, as well as balanced blood pressure.
- Phosphate: strengthens the teeth and the bones and is also key for helping the cells produce the needed energy to either repair themselves or grow new tissue.
- Potassium: vital for regulating blood pressure and heart rhythm, as well as transmitting nerve impulses.
As you can see, each of these electrolytes contributes in a vital way to the inner workings of our bodies and ensures that they can function properly. That’s why maintaining an electrolyte balance and providing proper hydration is even more critical, especially with age.
What Kind of Electrolytes Should You Look For
Electrolyte supplements are typically marketed towards endurance athletes and are also sold in the form of sports drinks such as Gatorade. The problem with those, however, is that they’re also full of sugar and are more like a sweet treat than a healthy drink. That’s why we recommend looking for electrolyte powders that contain no sugar and are full of all the minerals and vitamins you need.
By now, you’ve hopefully learned that “electrolytes” isn’t just some fancy new term made up by marketing teams so that you can buy their products. Despite what some ads might want you to believe, they’re also not a product solely created and used by athletes during competitions. The reality is that we all need to have a good electrolyte balance if we want to have our bodies functioning at their best possible level. In fact, as we grow older and our bodies get more vulnerable to changes, electrolytes become even more important if we want to remain healthy and feel good.
Dehydration symptoms and treatments. Illnesses & conditions | NHS inform. (n.d.). https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/nutritional/dehydration
Torokhtiy Weightlifting. (2023, September 24). 10 best electrolyte powders in 2023. https://torokhtiy.com/blogs/reviews/best-electrolyte-powder