As the warm, or just plain hot, summer months approach, many fitness enthusiasts worry about hydration. Especially as the weather becomes friendlier, people want to exercise outdoors. Opting for something with flavor, like a sports drink, rather than just plain water, will not only make you more likely to drink it, but can have other post-workout benefits as well.
For most people, the food we eat today has enough salt in it to keep us from facing a deficiency. If you are training for a marathon or exercising very hard for several hours a day, you burn through more salt through sweat than the average person and will need to make a point to replenish the fluids in your body. When we work out for extended periods of time, the important nutrients we lose are called electrolytes. Types of electrolytes include potassium and sodium, which are essential for proper hydration, maintaining fluid balance and preventing muscle cramps. That’s why, as an athlete, it’s so important to replace them after we sweat them out.
Plain old water isn’t loaded with electrolytes, so the best place to get them quickly is by drinking a sports drink. While all good sports drinks contain at least 15mg of sodium, there are also sports drinks that offer various amounts of both carbohydrates and protein in addition to sodium and potassium. These drink choices are absorbed and maintain fluid balance faster than plain water, getting your body the fluids it needs right away. Carbohydrate-protein sports drinks have been tested and are shown to possibly hydrate better than regular, no protein, sports drinks by aiding with fluid retention. The calories from carbohydrates in sports drinks have also been shown to improve endurance, increase energy, promote faster recovery and limit any immune system suppression that can happen after a tough workout.
When a workout leaves you wiped out, stick with your sports drink. Energy drinks might quench your thirst and give you a big boost of energy after a tough session, but they’ll also dehydrate you while leading you to an energy crash no one enjoys. Make sure you’re maintaining hydration all day; don’t worry about it only after you’ve worked out. Don’t worry about getting your eight glasses of water a day, instead, drink to match your thirst and use your urine as a gauge for maintaining proper hydration.
Have questions about sports drinks or when to use them? Email us at Info@FitNicePT.com