10 Jun Sports Drinks
I was recently asked the question, “are sports drinks really good for you?” My answer to that is it depends on what you are drinking it for. Sports drinks were developed to help athletes re-hydrate after losing sweat and becoming dehydrated. Hydration is essential to recover properly, train at a high level, and to perform at your best whether at work or playing sports. Even a slight dehydration such as 1-2% loss in body weight can have a negative impact on function and performance. Once dehydrated your heart rate increases, you have lower blood flow to the skin, and have a higher core temperature. What does that mean to performance? You become fatigued, lack of concentration, and you can even become irritable.
Before I ran my first marathon, I was told that I would go through phases during the race and one phase would be irritation. It was true at about mile 20 I remember I would get slightly angry at little things such as: another runner’s watch beeper constantly going off or a runner passing by with a smile on their face! Come to find out I was not really mad at the weirdo with a smile on his face at mile 20 I was just dehydrated. Staying hydrated is critical to performing at your best, so should you stick with plain water or go with a sports drink?
Sports drinks have been designed and enhanced with electrolytes to stimulate fast absorption and help you re-hydrate quickly. While water is essential throughout the day and is a great thirst quencher it is poor at re-hydrating compared to a sports drink when exercising or working for prolonged periods of time. So, sports drinks are great when exercising or training, especially outside in the heat, and lots of sweat is lost. It is critical to choose an electrolyte drink that is balanced and does a good job of replenishing the lost electrolytes that cause dehydration and fatigue.
If you look on the nutritional label of a large 32 oz name brand sports drink bottle it has 52 grams of sugar, that would be like eating 4 ½ bowls of a kids sugary cereal and does not have a good balance of electrolytes. Most name brand sports drinks have a 4:1 sodium to potassium ratio. I have found a superior recovery drink called Advocare Rehydrate. Rehydrate has a 1:1 sodium: potassium ratio which helps to replenish electrolytes lost during activity and sweat, has amino acids to decrease the risk of cramps and has antioxidants to help prevent exercise induced free radical damage. Rehydrate is safe for all ages whether you are a senior adult that gets cramps at night or a little leaguer playing at the ball field all day. So, whenever you are playing a sport or any other activity where lots of sweat is lost, just make sure you stay hydrated to do your best.
We continue to have our fitness classes with expanded times to meet the needs of the community. Our current fitness schedule is: Fitness Resolution instructed by Kim on Monday and Thursday nights at 5:15 and 6:15 and Human Performance Training instructed by Cory is Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 12 noon, Tuesday night at 5:15 and Saturday mornings at 11. We also offer nutritional advice and have nutritional supplements to help you achieve your health goals. For more information on what all we offer contact us at Pro Physical Therapy 662-282-4949.
Cory Lee, LPTA, RRCA- Certified Running Coach, L1 Crossfit Coach
Kimberly Lee, Doctor of Physical Therapy, BS Exercise Science