Potassium, Is it Really Important for Weightlifting?

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Recovery is one of the aspects of training most ignored by athletes in the United States. Not only does this apply to weightlifting, but to many sports. Other countries spend sometimes several hours after workout sessions just working on their recovery. Many countries make it mandatory for their lifters. I mention this problem because it is important that we work towards better ways to recover. Not only work harder, but smarter. In this article I want to discuss something that may help us recover smarter, Potassium. First, we must learn what potassium does for our bodies.

The Sodium- Potassium Pump

In cell physiology there is a function called the sodium-potassium pump. Simply, this pump allows sodium to exit the cell and pumps in potassium. To do this the cell uses energy, in the form of ATP, to pump these ions in and out of the cell. For every three sodium ions pumped out two potassium ions are pumped in. By doing this the cell becomes positively charged and create a chemical and electrical build up. This gradient that the ions pass through is what circulates electrical signals that travel along nerves and the nervous system. In this way the action of the nervous system requires this pump to happen.

In this way the cell always has a resting membrane with a negative charge, which results in the cells resting potential. This is when the neuron or cell is at rest. The action potential occurs when the neuron sends information down the axon This cause electrical activity where the nerve and muscle cells resting potential changes.  The sodium-potassium pump opens during this electrical activity and sodium rushes into the axon causing it to become positively charged. This is the depolarization of the cell. Afterwards, there is a repolarization where the sodium ions close and the potassium channels open and go back to its original resting potential.

Potassium Supplementation

Why on earth did I just tell you all about this? Why do you need to know about the sodium-potassium pump? Because you need to know what we are trying to improve to know what recovery methods we need to implement. Ratios of Salt and Potassium in our diet affects the functioning of EVERY CELL in our bodies. Supplementing your body with Potassium and Calcium. This is one of the most overlooked nutrients by many athletes and should be a priority. As explained earlier in this discussion, it literally makes it so your cells fire electrical current to make signals travel throughout your body.

When you are deficient of potassium, then your body will have major issues. You can look up the problems of low potassium or high levels of salt in your system. The issues are numerous in all bodily functions and systems. If you are a serious athlete or just want to be a healthy human being, pay attention to your potassium intake. Foods like bananas, avacados, sweet potatoes, spinach, salmon, and even coconut water can help supplement your potassium intake.

 

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