Water or sports drinks

Fluid replacement is vital for athletes or anybody who is alive and breathing. This paper looks at fluid replacement to replenish the body.

water-vs-sports-drinkWater is most important for several reasons. For one, water is abound and around everywhere in the continental USA and in most cases is free. Experts believe water to be the most important nutrient to all bodies second only to the air we breathe or oxygen. Some other important functions of water are that: it is needed to maintain homeostasis, it is the most abundant solvent or medium in the human body, it is important in regulating cell volume, nutrient transport, waste removal, and body temperature, & it is distributed both in intra- and inter-cellular compartments and accounts for up to 80% of our body weight at birth and up to 70% of our adult body weight.

People who work out and or lose water or sweat via workouts may need to replace more of this fluid. Researchers believe it depends on several factors such as climate, age, exercise level, and body weight to determine the appropriate amounts of water needed daily. For instance, if you sweat more profusely or more than someone older, younger, bigger, or smaller, you may need to drink more water. Two other examples are people exercising at high altitudes and people exercising at elevated or hot environments. These folks may lose more water via sweat thus requiring more water replacement. Every ones body is different, but all bodies need water.

Proper hydration should begin before you begin to exercise, while you are exercising, and after exercise is complete. Here are some suggestions:

  • drink 17 to 20 oz of water 2 to 3 hours before exercise
  • drink 7 to 10 oz of water 10 to 20 minutes before exercise
  • drink 7 to 10 oz of water every 10 to 20 minutes during activity if you sweat heavily, you may need to drink more

Experts have not determined how much water everyone needs because everyone is different and several other factors. But, all of the experts suggest by the time you are thirsty due to exercising – you may already be dehydrated.

Sport Drinks

There are several sport drinks that replenish the body with electrolytes. These drinks and others like them (read the labels to find what the drinks contain) are known to keep the body from overheating, much like water, and also supply the body with the electrolytes potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium to provide energy during intense workouts (water does not replace these energy sources). Sport drinks may be considered an enhancement over water as a body temperature regulator and fluid replacer for the aforementioned reasons.

It is interesting to note that most sport drinks, if not all, have flavors. This is done, perhaps, to make certain you drink the appropriate amounts of the drinks and or a marketing ploy. Sometimes, people drink till they are not thirsty which may or may not replace or hydrate the body fully. Most sport drinks with flavor tend to make folks drink more thus hydrating the body fully. Unlike most waters, sport drinks are not free.

Super Sport Drinks

Super sport drinks tend to add to what water and sport drinks already have. Some of the ingredients in super sport drinks may include: choline, creatine, protein, carbohydrates, & antioxidants (again, it is important to read the labels). Most of these drinks are designed for endurance athletes or sports they may perform for hours on end. The body tends  to lose more energy and other nutrients when workouts are longer or of the endurance nature.

Super sport drinks are also known to help muscle recovery. Soreness that results from overuse of body or muscles may be relieved if super sports drinks are employed within half an hour after intense exercising.

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are fine for dinners and or snacks. But, fruit juices are typically over concentrated with carbohydrates and sugars and thus may not be suited ideally as a fluid replacer before, during, or after exercising. The high levels of sugars and carbohydrates may trigger an upset stomach or a laxative effect in your body. This may work against your body and dehydrate you further or make your stomach have severe pains.

Caffeine Drinks

Drinks like coffee or colas may not replace fluids in the short or long run. In fact, these drinks are known to be diuretics and can even have a laxative effect too. Although most of these drinks are water like and water is the main source of fluid in them, they appear to do more damage as a fluid replacer. Caffeine drinks also do not replenish any of the electrolyte stores the body loses during sweating.

Understanding why & how fluid replacement may enhance your workouts is important. This paper briefly alluded to suggestions that may help you on your quest to effectively and efficiently replenish your body with fluids.

Copyright © by Coach Shannyn ,  All rights reserved

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