Alkaline Water & Sports Hydration


By Gareth Edwards BSc, DipION, mBant

It’s all been pretty full on with hydration and alkaline water in the Live Energized world for the last few weeks. This week I’d like to stay loosely with that theme, but focus it down a bit onto sports hydration. This isn’t just for aspiring Kelly Holmes or Steve Redgrave’s.

We all need to exercise (a daily walk has been shown to improve many health markers).

How we “re-fuel” afterwards can have a huge impact on how beneficial that exercise really is. If walking, running, swimming, cycling or re-bounding don’t light your candle (and even if they do) I’ve seen some research that might interest you and there’s a news story that I feel I have to share with you.

A tragic story…and how it could save you

So …… I recently heard the tragic tale of a 40 year old man with a wife and family who was an ultra-triathlon competitor who died of a brain tumour. A relation told me this story saying that it had made her loose faith in healthy eating and living.

I have seen cases where people have been exercising heavily and developed serious illnesses. My brother in law has recently been experiencing debilitating cramp while competing in cycle races and Steve Redgrave won his last Gold medal as a diagnosed, insulin injecting diabetic.

The cynic may well form the quick view that exercise is in fact bad for you. The picture is however broader than that.

At the age of 47 Ruth Heidrich ( was diagnosed with metastasised breast cancer. She was at peak physical fitness. Having had her lump removed she decided to reject conventional treatment and plunged herself fully into a vegan eating plan, based on fresh and raw living foods. S

he’s now 75 and by the time she was 71 she’d completed the Hawaii iron man triathlon holding an age group record and has won eight gold medals in the senior Olympics. Amazing…..

When we exercise our body’s need to “detoxify” is heightened.

Anything other than lying in a catatonic torpor on the floor creates acids.

While physical exercise builds muscle mass, releases feel-good endorphins and increases elimination of metabolites through increased respiration and perspiration, it also increases our body’s production of lactic and other acids. This increases the need for alkaline nutrition and hydration. Most of the shelf sports drinks and bars are however highly acidifying to the body fluids and tissues.

Small trials carried out on runners and swimmers have shown that using baking soda could clearly enhance performance times.

This study (one of many) found that:

The reasoning behind its use in sports is that, during short bursts of intense exercise, the muscles can begin to produce large amounts of lactic acid, which then contributes to fatigue. Sodium bicarbonate acts as a “buffer” against these acids.

“Essentially sodium bicarbonate is an alkali that increases the pH of the blood,” explained Folland, of Loughborough University in the UK. “This seems to reduce and offset the acidity produced in the muscles during intense exercise.”

There was some debate prior to the Beijing Olympics as to whether baking soda could be considered a performance enhancing drug.

Ross tells me that several sports clubs in Australia (including rugby league sides, AFL teams, MMA gyms and boxing gyms) have installed alkaline water ionisers to give their athletes alkaline water to speed their recovery when hydrating before exercise and when re-hydrating in recovery. Fizzy brown coloured water or orange juice and lemonade tend to be more common in England – but these are doing the opposite.

pHour salts & powdered greens mixed with ionised water make more sense to me as sports hydration than carbohydrate based alternatives with, in some cases, caffeine added. Remember it is salt, not sugar, your body needs for energy.

If all this talk of sport and endurance is making you ….. want to read a good book instead, then perhaps some recent research about good dance moves will be more up your street!

Exercise really doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be!) a slog.

Busting some shapes, or for the more mature reader, moving with style, it seems can be a sign of ….. good reproductive health. Whether or not that’s true, taking some time out in your day to have a bit of a groove to Jay-Z, Michael Jackson or Fats Waller will loosen up tight muscles and get your lymphatic system moving.

Remember to smile when you’re doing it and …drink alkaline water afterwards!

And finally, here’s a story that warms the cockles of my heart. Doctors have been prescribing periods of work and training on a dedicated farm in Suffolk. This is a trial emulating the now common practice in Holland of prescribing farm work to sufferers of certain illnesses. Click here to read more.

A trial in a New York prison where certain inmates worked in the prison garden showed significant reductions in re-offending rates over those who did not do gardening work. The therapeutic benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and green spaces are apparent, but additionally re-connecting with how we grow and produce healthy food has an exciting place in health care and wellness.

Ask Me a Question or Leave a Comment Here - I'd Love to Hear from You


  1. Dave Reply

    Hi Ross. I have an ioniser. Is it true that soaking non organic fruit and veg in highly alkaline water will reduce the pesticides?


  2. David Reply

    Hey there fellas, was wondering if any of you had come across this product and if so what you think of it? Kre Alkalyn Buffered Creatine. Not sure myself, so thought I’d put out there to more knowledgeable people.



  3. Scott Brady Reply

    Good article.

    I have been using pHour salts (sometimes plan sodium bicarbonate) immediately after my training sessions for the past year. I have noticed decreased muscle soreness (often none at all). And I have also noticed a “bounce back” in mental & physical alertness immediately after ingesting the salts; I say that as my weight training sessions are often quite brutal and I am often totally exhausted.

    I had a female swimming client that used sodium bicarbonate before some training sessions and she did notice a positive effect in that she felt she fatigued much later. Just as the Loughborough study showed.


  4. Lewis Reply

    As a doctor and veteran athlete I’d like to see any evidence based claims you have that exercise predisposes to serious illness and that alkalinesed drinks have been shown to improve recovery other than in anecdotal feedback…

    Exercise actually reduces the risk of breast and bowel cancer….

    • Ross Reply

      Hi Lewis

      I’m totally at a loss as to how you could have drawn that conclusion from Gareth’s article. He is constantly making the opposite point throughout the whole post?!

      That has to be one of the most surprisingly confusing comments this blog has ever received!

      Sorry for the confusion, but Gareth is clearly saying that exercise is very very good for you!