Many workout tips don’t stress the importance of hydration enough. Sports drinks have become a pervasive product in today’s health and fitness realm, but when do we really need to drink one? When will water suffice? In order to answer that, let’s discover what it is that sports drinks really do.
Sports drinks contain sodium, sugar, and carbohydrates. All of these things help contribute to the overall taste and thirst quenching qualities of the drinks. But they do more than just that. The sodium in a sports drink helps replenish the salt lost in your sweat and also encourages your body to hold on to the fluids ingested. In addition, carbohydrates found in the drink can help replace your energy and keep you going and the sugar gives a quick burst of energy.
However, lots of people make the mistake of drinking a sports drink when water would suffice. Generally, sports drinks should be reserved for strenuous exercise which lasts around 60 minutes or longer, especially if you are exercising in a hot or humid environment. The sports drink will help replenish electrolytes and sodium that your body has lost through sweat.
Further, if you are a “Salty Sweater” it may be more important for you to drink a sports drink during less strenuous exercise. Salty sweaters are those individuals which lose an excessive amount of sodium during their workouts. Salty sweaters often have what is called “cake sweat” which refers to white lines of salt residue on their clothes from sweat. The individual might also have gritty sweat after a run. Drinking a sports drink can help replenish that lost salt.
In short, sports drinks can be helpful in cases of strenuous exercise of a long duration. However, if you are out for a casual jog or power walk, water will suffice, and it won’t add extra calories to your diet. Salty sweaters can benefit from a sports drink, but should always drink water in addition. But remember, an easy way to help ease thirst during a workout is hydrating properly throughout the day, and be sure never to underestimate the importance of water.