Quick Tip: Water vs. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are popular among athletes, but do you really need to drink them, or should you just stick to h20?
Why Drink Water?
Your body is made up of about 60% water. Every system and function of your body needs water, so it's crucial to regularly replenish yourself to ensure that you stay hydrated. When you exert short bursts of energy (about 30-60 minutes of weightlifting or short distance running) water is the best choice for quenching your thirst. These activities take place over a short period of time or with plenty of rest between each rep, giving your body time to recover. You shouldn't be straining yourself to the point that you will need to replenish your carbohydrate and electrolyte supply, so stick with water.
If you are trying to lose weight, then you will also want to avoid the calories that accompany sports drinks. Water is a cheap, healthy solution for most of your hydration needs.
What about Sports Drinks?
So if water is so great, why do sports drinks even exist? Well, while water is the best option for most people and situations, there are instances that you need a little bit more. Ultra-runners, long-distance runners, Ironman athletes, or any other endurance sports athlete are losing a lot more than water when they exert energy for hours at a time. Endurance athletes need to replenish their carbohydrates for energy and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to keep their body going. This is where sports drinks come in. The main ingredients in sports drinks are water, electrolytes, and carbs. This makes them ideal for people that need to convert energy quickly. So if you are doing an intense activity for hours at a time, you might want to consider supplementing your water intake with a sports drink.
Which is better?
Water, in almost all cases, is king. It makes up a majority of your body and when you sweat you need to replenish what you've lost. That being said, sports drinks shouldn't be completely written off. If you are doing any type of endurance training, you might a to turn to a sports drink to replenish your energy supply.