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Nutrition and Fitness » Proper Hydration after Exercise: Water vs. Sports Drink

It is a known fact that when we exercise or work out, it is very important to stay hydrated. There are numerous discussions on what drink should an exerciser or an athlete drink in order to stay hydrated. The choice has to be between the sports drink and the universal drink- water.

Water is of course the universal and the classic choice for all the people. But with the store shelves everywhere full of different varieties of sports drinks, energy drinks and various flavored and fortified drinks, an exerciser is left puzzled and bewildered. According to the experts, it all depends on the individual’s taste as well as the length and intensity of the workouts.

Sports Drinks:
Sports drink or the energy drinks contain electrolytes (usually sodium, potassium  and chloride), carbohydrates (sugars), and calories which are necessary for the proper functioning of the body cells. Our body looses a considerable amount of electrolytes during sweating in case of vigorous exercise. Normal electrolyte loss can be recovered by drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy well balanced diet. But in case of a really hard work and lots of sweating, too many electrolytes can be lost and these cannot be replaced by drinking water alone. 

Health drinks can help replace the electrolytes lost during the vigorous exercises, and because they contain sugar, they can also give a boost of energy to help come out of the workouts.

Water vs. Sports Drinks:
When making a choice between the sports drink and the water, the following things should be remembered:
• Proper hydration is of primary concern to protect the body during or after the exercises. And water is the best thing for the body, so an exerciser should make sure that he provides enough water for his body.
• Sports drinks have calories. One of the negative points for the sports drink is that they do contain calories, which is of primary concern for people doing the exercise primarily for the weight loss.
• Consider the exercise. Loss of electrolytes and minerals from the body depends on the type of exercise. People who perform exercises that weight lifting or running long distances usually get benefit from the sports drink.

People exercising under extreme conditions also get benefit from the sports drink. But people who are exercising moderately (for less than an hour) should avoid the intake of extra calories and make sure that they drink plenty of water to make their body fit for the workouts.

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