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Exercise and subsequent regeneration

Exercise and subsequent regeneration
14. 8. 2020

Exercise, be it outdoors in the fresh air, at sport facilities or at home, is an essential part of many people’s lives, who cannot imagine their existence without it. But it is not just active exercise that helps reinforce good health. Proper regeneration after exercise is equally important. “I drink seawater during the match, and after it.” - Tennis star Rafael Nadal. Are you wondering why? You will learn the answer in this article.

In our country, the use of seawater for regeneration is not as common and widespread as abroad. It will have to fight hard for its reputation. But we believe that thanks to its effects, enough people will become aware of seawater to start using it regularly and to start recommending it to their peers.

Muscle - The Building Block of the Motor System

What benefits does seawater offer for the organism after exertion? In order to illustrate the benefits, we must first briefly explain the structure of muscle and its physiology.

Muscle Structure

No movement would be possible without muscles. Muscle tissue is composed of muscle cells, which contain the protein molecules actin and myosin. Their purpose is to transform the chemical energy stored in ATP (adenosine triphosphate) into mechanical work. They enable the contraction of the muscles, which is the basis of every muscle movement.

Muscle Physiology

In order for contraction to happen during exercise, energy in the form of ATP is needed. But where does the organism get it? A limited quantity is found in the muscles, but the body must procure the required energy elsewhere. It uses sugars, fats, free fatty acids and phosphocreatine to synthesize ATP.
The impulse for processing ATP - meaning muscle contraction - is the increased concentration of calcium ions in the muscle tissue, which are triggered by a nerve signal. In reaction, the actin filaments move in between the myosin filaments. To relax the muscle, i.e. return it to resting mode, the concentration of calcium ions must be reduced. This occurs when the nervous triggering of the muscle fiber stops. Along with the reduced concentration of calcium ions, the chemical energy released from ATP is consumed.
Fatigue is the body’s natural reaction to exertion.

Fatigue to Protect the Organism

All of us are familiar with fatigue after physical exercise or mental stress. This is a natural way for the body to react to exertion. Its purpose is to protect the organism from overloading, which could in turn damage important organs. 
Fatigue is always apparent when the body experiences a decline in energy supplies below the tolerable limit, or the accumulation of waste metabolites. The regeneration phase ensures their effective elimination.

Regeneration = Restoration of Energy

What should one imagine under the term “regeneration”? These are all the activities, the aim of which is to quickly and effectively restore an organism that has been exposed to exertion. The basis lies in renewing energy sources through a proper nutrition and drinking regime. Other commonly recommended methods include thermal saline water procedures.

Drinking Regime

The human organism loses liquids and with them certain important minerals over the course of the day, even when it is not doing any physical activity. The daily loss in an average person is about 2.5 l of liquid (urine + stool: 1.5 l; sweat: 0.5 l and breathing: 0.5 l).
But sodium and chloride ions disappear along with the liquid. For instance, with every 1 l of sweat, the body loses: 

  • 1.5 - 3.5 g of sodium chloride (NaCl)
  • 0.5 - 2.5 g of magnesium (Mg)
  • 0.1 - 0.3 g of potassium (K)

The loss of fluids must be compensated. Hydration of the organism is important for the correct functioning of blood circulation, maintaining the ionic balance, substance exchange, and also for the transport of oxygen to the tissues and maintaining an optimum body temperature. If you do not supply your body adequately with liquids and minerals, it will be dehydrated. 
If the organism is dehydrated, performance (physical and mental) declines in the first phase. If the loss of liquids continues, metabolic changes start to occur, which could eventually threaten your life.
We distinguish between 3 types of dehydration:

  • Hypertonic – The volume of extracellular and intracellular liquid is reduced; its effects include a dry mucous membrane, thirst, low blood pressure and arrhythmia.
  • Hypotonic – The volume of extracellular liquid is reduced, but the volume of intracellular liquid is increased, while losing sodium ions; the cause of this type of dehydration may be a kidney deficiency, vomiting or diarrhea, heavy sweating.
  • Isotonic – The volume of extracellular liquid is reduced, while the volume of intracellular liquid remains unchanged; this leads to a deficit of sodium ions and water, while normal osmolality is preserved.

The loss of fluids must be compensated.

Thalassotherapy as Effective Means of Regeneration

The Czech Republic does not have direct access to the sea, but local inhabitants can undergo thalassotherapy (seawater therapy) as a part of their regeneration. In addition to hydrotherapy, other commonly used methods include seaweed or mud wraps.
In the course of long-term activity and subsequent regeneration, the intake of water and minerals is crucial for restoring the volume of plasma - a key regulator of acid-base and osmotic equilibrium. The question remains how to replenish the most minerals in an easy-to-absorb form, so that they are readily available to the body. Seawater meets these requirements precisely.
Seawater is the only natural source that contains most elements in the periodical table (all existing minerals and trace elements + vitamins, enzymes, etc.). The ratio of substance content in each ocean or sea differs slightly depending on the current, volcanic activity and plankton content. Phytoplankton and zooplankton transform minerals through photosynthesis into organic form, which is more suitable for the organism to use. Certain minerals and trace elements work synergically, meaning they increase each other’s effect (e.g. copper - zinc, sodium - potassium, etc.).

Our seawater is obtained in Cabo de Gata National Park in Spain. It undergoes four-step filtration, during which it loses none of its benefits, and is not exposed to chemical or heat effects.
Whether you choose a 500 ml bottle to sip from (like Nadal) or use “one-off boosters” in the form of 20 ml ampules, you can’t go wrong. You may have encountered sea plasma therapy, which is only just becoming popular in our country.

A Few Words in Conclusion...

Seawater is an effective helper in restoring liquids and minerals in the course of and after physical exercise. But which should you choose? Hypertonic (undiluted) or isotonic (diluted with mineral water)? You can find inspiration with Spanish cyclist Mario Fernández. During races, he drinks isotonic seawater to replenish the needed minerals. If he needs a “higher dose” of minerals, he reaches for a small dose of hypertonic seawater. Halfway through or near the finish line, he sips pure seawater. After the race, he restores energy again with an isotonic seawater drink. 
Seawater can compensate the loss of NaCl and other elements after physical exercise and restore acid-base and osmotic equilibrium, thanks to its composition (78 minerals and trace elements + vitamins, enzymes and other important substances). Some of its ingredients contribute to biochemical processes in the human body, and their replenishment helps correct our organism’s metabolism. Seawater hydrates the body, relieves cramps, and improves physical performance and concentration.

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