Do you reach for a sports drink or get up to refill your water bottle when working out?
You might not think it matters, but actually, it does!
According to research, even just a 2% reduction in body weight from sweat can significantly impact athletic performance.
As our bodies try to cool down through sweat, we lose both water and electrolytes. If we do not consume enough fluids while exercising, especially in the heat, dehydration can strike without warning.
So, is it better to drink plain water or a sports drink during exercise? Well, it depends on the situation.
1. What are you drinking?
Sports drinks aim to rehydrate and replace electrolytes after an intense workout or strenuous physical activity.
Since electrolytes help regulate and balance the body’s fluid levels, sports drinks are mostly water, simple sugars, and added electrolytes in the form of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Now, before your rebuke sports drinks altogether, remember – the sugar content is just as important. Depleting the body’s carbohydrate stores can have detrimental effects on performance.
Furthermore, carbohydrates are an important fuel source for all cells, including your muscles. The sugar in sports drinks helps replace carbohydrates and prevent blood sugar levels from falling.
In addition, numerous studies show that sports drinks provide a greater advantage over water during vigorous activities lasting longer than an hour.
This means that a sports drink can be more beneficial for someone riding 80km on a bicycle than someone who walks their dog for 15 minutes.
That does, however, not mean that sports drinks are more hydrating than regular drinking water.
2. What should you drink: water or a sports drink?
Sports drinks can be a good choice in some instances, but there are also situations where water is the preferred option. As a general rule of thumb, here are a few recommendations:
2.1. Choose water if:
- You spend most of the day sitting or only doing light activity
- You are only doing a light-moderate workout
- You are hydrating before and during a workout
- You are trying to reduce your sugar intake
2.2. Choose a sports drink if:
- You are doing an intense workout that involves strenuous exercise and a lot of sweating
- You are recovering from an illness that’s left dehydrated and depleted of electrolytes and calories
For most of us, water will always be the best and most reliable way to hydrate.
Fortunately, while Oasis Water specialises in clean, great-tasting drinking water, we also offer a range of sports drinks and sports drink concentrates.
Make the right choice and choose Oasis Water!