Summertime in the UK brings with it longer days, warm sunshine, and the perfect setting for practising yoga outdoors. However, as the season advances, so too does the need for proper hydration and electrolyte balance in our bodies. This is especially true for yoga participants who are actively engaging in asanas that encourage a good sweat. But, equally for anyone who enjoy active sports in Summer e.g. long bike rides, running, hiking, etc…
Water and Electrolytes Keep You Healthy in Summer
Water and electrolytes form an essential duo to ensure our bodies function optimally, particularly during hot summer days. Water maintains our body temperature, supports digestion, and helps transport nutrients to our cells. Simultaneously, electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, regulate fluid balance, support muscle contractions, maintains normal heart rhythm, and maintain the proper function of our nervous system.
Without a proper balance of water and electrolytes, the body could suffer from dehydration and heat-related illnesses, both of which could hinder your ability to perform yoga or any sport activity effectively and enjoy your summer to the fullest. After all, we don’t want to experience fatique, muscle cramps, and even dehydration. So, how can we ensure that we’re getting enough water and electrolytes throughout the sunny season?
As you glide from one pose to another under the summer sun, your body will inevitably lose water through sweat. Remember to hydrate before, during, and after your yoga or any high intensity exercises you enjoy. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, sipping on it throughout your practice. Aim for 2-3 litres of water per day, and remember, if you’re feeling thirsty, your body is already signalling mild dehydration.
Mindful Consumption of Electrolyte-Rich Foods
Eating a balanced diet is one of the most effective ways to maintain a good balance of electrolytes. Here’s how you can incorporate them into your meals:
Potassium-rich foods: Incorporate bananas, oranges, and sweet potatoes into your diet. These can be enjoyed as a quick snack before your yoga class or blended into a refreshing smoothie.
Calcium sources: Dairy products – natural yoghurt or organic greek yoghurt offer a good dose of calcium. For those on a plant-based diet, alternatives such as fortified unsweetened almond milk or soy milk are just as beneficial.
Magnesium-loaded options: Foods like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, spinach, and avocados are rich in magnesium which supports muscles and nerve function. They make a great addition to your salads, smoothies, or even as a standalone snack.
Sodium considerations: While sodium is necessary, it is often already present in sufficient amounts in our diets, especially if you consume processed foods. It’s still essential, however, for those particularly hot yoga sessions where you might find yourself sweating more than usual.
Fruits & Vegetables: Bananas, oranges, watermelon, and strawberries are rich in potassium, a vital electrolyte that helps muscles contract correctly. They make for a refreshing post-yoga snack or a lovely addition to your breakfast. Leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and avocados are also filled with a myriad of electrolytes. Reminder! Watermelon to eat on its own as it has a high content of water and does not mix well with other fruits. It helps with easy digestion when eating/enjoying watermelon on its own.
Opt for Natural Drinks
Beyond the hydration provided by water, certain natural drinks can help replenish lost electrolytes. Coconut water, for example, is an excellent source of electrolytes and can be a great post-yoga drink. Just be cautious of commercial sports drinks, which can often be high in sugar.
Listen to Your Body
The wisdom of yoga teaches us to listen to our bodies and honour its needs. Pay attention to signs of dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, or excessive thirst.
Incorporating water and electrolyte balance into your yoga practice is more than just a summer survival strategy; it’s a way of enhancing your overall well-being and performance. As you match your breath with your movements and soak in the warmth of the summer sun, remember that each sip of water and each bite of electrolyte-rich food is a step towards a healthier, more vibrant summer.
Remember, a well-hydrated yogi is a healthy yogi, especially in the heat of summer. Keep your water bottle and electrolyte-rich snacks close by, and enjoy the beautiful journey of yoga this season. After all, maintaining a balance of water and electrolytes will not only help you sustain your yoga practice but will also enhance your ability to enjoy everything that the beautiful British summer has to offer.