Diet: should I drink water or sports drinks during exercise?

January 31st, 2013 · by Josh · Blog, Nutrition and Diet

Sports drinks advertisements are everywhere! They tell us the fastest and most efficient way to stay hydrated or rehydrate, be it after or during a football match, gym session or run is to drink one of their highly sugary products.

The human body is made up of 60% water, so as you can imagine, staying hydrated has a huge impact on how we feel. We commonly mistake hunger for dehydration and find ourselves snacking on sugary foods when all we need to do is drink a glass of water!

The benefits of keeping hydrated

Drinking enough water is key to not only feeling energised and fresh but it can also reduce the signs of ageing and aids our digestion.

When we exercise we sweat! It’s our body’s way of regulating our body temperature. We can lose up to 2-5% of our body weight when exercising so the importance of replacing these lost fluids is extremely important.

Outdoor water fountain

Sports drinks during exercise

One of the main attractions with sports drinks is their effect on the pallet. Some people find water boring so these drinks offer an attractive alternative and may lead to you taking more volume on board during exercise than water.

One substance of many sports drinks is electrolytes, however it isn’t always necessary to replace these electrolytes during a normal gym session. Where this (electrolyte replacement) can be beneficial is for marathon runners or those doing a running session of 60-minutes or more.

Sports drinks also contain carbohydrates. When we exercise we burn calories and the longer the exercise the more calories our body will need to replace the lost energy. However, in my professional opinion, fuelling your body with the right things before and after exercise will have much more of an impact on our body’s performance and recovery than relying on these drinks.

Water or sports drinks?

While we know these sports drinks have a few benefits to a normal gym session, pure and simple water along with eating the correct foods before and after exercise really is the most efficient and cheapest way to give the body all the hydration that remains so important to our well-being and performance.

Go drink a glass!

One Response to “Diet: should I drink water or sports drinks during exercise?”

  1. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
    Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!

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