Everyone knows that hydration is essential during a hard workout, but what’s truly the best option for your average gym-goer? Sports drinks are available in an overwhelming variety of flavors and formulas, and many athletes swear by the energy-boosting benefits of these concoctions. However, you may find that plain water is all you need to quench your thirst. Let’s go into some of the pros and cons of sports drinks below.
Sports drinks are full of beneficial ingredients to replenish your body during exercise. When compared to water, the main advantage of sports drinks is the availability of electrolytes – compounds that help the cells work properly. Electrolytes are lost during exercise, especially intense load-bearing or endurance workouts. If you are a serious athlete, you may benefit from this extra boost during your training sessions. Additionally, sports drinks have calories in the form of carbohydrates – usually simple sugars. These sugars provide additional energy to make it through particularly tough workouts.
While serious athletes need those extra carbs and calories to fuel their training sessions, what about the average person? Light to moderate activities, like swimming and elliptical training, are gentler on the body than the strenuous workouts that the pros do. That means you’ll lose far less electrolytes, and you generally don’t need additional calories to complete your session. In fact, the extra calories in a sports drink could even hinder weight loss goals. The typical gym-goer will see greater benefits by sticking with water for hydration.
So, are sports drinks right for you? Let’s sum it up:
- Sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates to hydrate and energize the body.
- High-level athletes may see benefits from sports drinks during intense, vigorous activity.
- The average person can save the extra calories and stick with water.
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