Sunday, January 22, 2012

Are Sports Drinks Necessary?

Many people associate sports drinks as being a healthy alternative to soda, but some sports drinks actually have more calories than soda and can be detrimental to your fitness goals if you are trying to lose weight. Sports drinks have been marketed so successfully that many people believe they are "healthy" drinks that will help them become better athletes.

I'm not trying to bash the sports drink industry. I enjoy an occasional Gatorade or Powerade and think there is definitely a time and a place for them, but many people (especially youth) consume these products too frequently or while doing leisurely activities.

The most important factor in determining if you should use a sports drink is how long you have been exercising. If you've been lifting weights or walking on a treadmill for 40 minutes, you don't need a sports drink, since they are most beneficial for people who need to replenish electrolytes and fluids they have lost from excessive sweating during long bouts of exercise.

Sports drinks can keep your muscles from cramping up and help you not fatigue too quickly, but it makes more sense for someone to use a sports drink if they are participating in high-endurance activities like running a half marathon, marathon, or Iron Man, playing in a long tennis tournament out in the sun, doing yard work or hard manual labor for long periods of time, or exercising for over an hour in extreme heat.

There seem to be many new customized sports drinks and gels on the market these days that are endorsed by high profile athletes. I haven't seen any cool or motivational commercials for water but, for most people, water is the best drink to keep you hydrated. Remember to consume it before, during, and after your workouts.

No comments: