Money may make the world go round, but water keeps your body working properly. Water is essential to flush waste from the body and maintain a healthy body temperature. Water can also prevent kidney stones and constipation.
Sports drinks on the other hand are beneficial in other ways. Drinks like Gatorade or Powerade are packed with electrolytes essential in maintaining blood pressure levels, reducing muscle fatigue, aiding in recovery and supporting a healthy immune system. Common electrolytes include potassium, sodium and magnesium.
For many the question is, when do you choose sports drinks over water?
According to Brooke Schantz, a Loyola University Health System registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics, water will meet many individual's hydration needs.
“Sports drinks shouldn’t take the place of regular water intake,” Schantz said. “Yes, they will help hydrate you, but the average healthy child, adolescent and adult doesn’t need the extra carbohydrates and calories that come with consuming these sugary beverages."
For those who exercise for an hour or longer, Schantz suggest consuming sports drinks in order to maintain blood sugar levels. Nearly all sports drinks contain about four to eight percent of carbohydrates needed to assist blood sugar levels.
Schantz recommends the following tips to help ease the misperception about what to drink and when to drink it.
- While sitting on the couch
- During a three-mile run or bike ride
- While sitting at your desk studying or working.
Choose sports drink:
- While participating in a sporting event or endurance race that lasts longer than one hour.
- While exercising in extreme environments, such as severe heat or humidity or cold or at a high altitude.
- If you an athlete who has missed or not consumed a high quality, preworkout meal to sustain your physical activity.
- If you are a wrestler or if you participate in another sport where you limit your energy intake prior to a weigh-in.