Electrolytes – they can be key to your victory on the field or achieving a new personal record on race day. Ensuring optimal performance is a balancing act of just the right amount of these power particles – but choosing milk as a post-recovery workout beverage makes achieving that balance easy. Let’s explore the science.
Electrolytes are electrically charged ions that come from certain minerals and trigger nerve impulses and muscle contractions. A deficiency in electrolytes may mean muscle cramps, spasms, fatigue and confusion – none of which are fun during a tough workout. Long durations (or workouts lasting more than one hour), high intensity and extreme temperatures can contribute to more sweat loss. With that sweat comes a loss of electrolytes. So, the more you sweat, the more nutrient-packed fluids you need to replenish the electrolytes you lost.
Electrolytes Enhance Athletic Performance
Milk is a great natural source of electrolytes. Here's what you'll find in an 8-ounce glass:
- Calcium: 300 milligrams; 25% Daily Value (DV) – Stimulates nerves and muscles; regulates blood vessel contractions. While calcium doesn’t provide energy, it’s an important player in making fuel for your workout. Bonus – calcium is good for your bones, too.
- Potassium: 366 milligrams; 8% DV – Helps lower blood pressure; works with sodium to keep muscles and nerves functioning. Low potassium can leave you feeling groggy and confused.
- Sodium: 107 milligrams; 5% DV – In addition to muscle and nerve function, regulates water in your body. Low sodium can mean more muscle cramping.
- Magnesium: 27 milligrams; 6% DV – Helps regulate your heartbeat and lower blood pressure. Athletes low in magnesium may experience weakness and muscle spasms.
Compare these numbers with the label on your favorite sports drinks – and don't forget to check out the numbers for sugar and protein, too. You decide which is better.
Taste Goes a Long Way
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends flavored drinks post-workout to increase palatability and promote fluid replacement. Chocolate milk fits the bill. Not only does chocolate milk taste great, but it makes for easy hydration every athlete can love.
Learn more about chocolate milk nutrition: