Sports Drinks or Water: Which is Better?

August 14, 2013 in Our News & Bulletins by Primary Spine & Rehab

We have all been told that drinking water should be a part of our everyday lifestyle to stay healthy. But how do sports drinks stack up when it comes to exercise and staying hydrated?

The truth is sports drinks can be worthwhile but in moderation and at the right times. Sports drinks are made up of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Carbohydrates provide your body with energy while electrolytes help activate your body’s nerves and muscles. However, you don’t need to replenish what you may already have too much of. As you know, sodium (aka salt) and carbohydrates (sugar) could be considered in the category of “too much of a good thing.”

So which to you choose and when? The following guidelines can help you decide on whether to consume water or a sports drink.

*For less than 60 minutes of exercise, water is probably fine. For high-intensity workouts lasting more than 60 minutes, replenishing with a sports drink is perhaps the way to go.

*Using the “pee test” is a way to check your hydration status. Normal urine should be the color of light lemonade. Darker urine is a sign of dehydration while lighter urine could mean you are over-hydrated.

*Body weight is another method for checking hydration. For every pound you lose to sweat, it is good to consume 24 ounces of fluid. If you are losing 3% of body weight or more during exercise, you are not drinking enough during the activity to stay hydrated.

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