During the exercise: water or sports drinks?

The important thing is to be always hydrated, especially when you exercise. However, when selecting how to do it many people wonder what is better, whether to drink water or sports drinks. Here is some information that will help you answer that question and choose better.

Either by pleasure or necessity, you have decided to maintain an exercise routine. You know the importance of physical activity and the benefits that exercise brings to your health . Congratulations! You have made a great decision for your well-being, not only physically but emotionally.

The next step is to take into account all the necessary care when putting your body in motion. If you have not already done so, you can ask for advice from a trainer or physical trainer and, if necessary, consult with your doctor to determine if you should have any particular care, based on your health status.

And with the care of each activity and each person’s particular, there is something we all need: to stay well hydrated. This is not specific to those who practice sports, as we all need to keep the body hydrated to function properly. However, people who exercise can lose more fluids and minerals when they sweat, so it is important that they drink more than someone who leads a sedentary life, whether before, during and / or after practicing the exercise.

When choosing how to stay hydrated, many choose sports drinks. However, there is nothing better than water. And if you find it tasteless, you can add lemon or fruit cubes with its shell to give it flavor and in passing some vitamins.

In this regard, when it comes to vitamins, some choose fortified waters, although it is preferable that you obtain a healthy diet and not as a supplement in drinks, since these sometimes have added sugar and, on the other hand, you can consume more vitamins than you really need.

Faced with this idea, there are specialists who believe that the choice between water and sports drinks is a matter of taste and, in fact, it can sometimes be useful to take sports drinks to stay hydrated and energized, but you have to be clear about some issues before choosing.

First of all, do not get confused! A sports drink is not the same as an energy drink . Sports drinks contain carbohydrates (sugars), minerals (such as sodium or salt, potassium, etc.) and flavorings. Its function is to restore water and minerals that are lost during a session of intense or vigorous exercise.

The energy drinks instead contain stimulants like caffeine and other ingredients that increase the stimulant effect, such as guarana, yerba mate, cola, cocoa, taurine and even ephedrine, which is a decongestant that can have effects cardiovascular (vasoconstriction) and, if taken in excess, can cause fainting. These drinks, in general, are not healthy.

So you have to be very careful with energy drinks that do not provide nutrients. As for sports drinks, keep in mind whether or not they have added sugar. If they have it, remember that sugary drinks are not recommended for people with diabetes . Also, if the purpose of the exercise is to lose weight, then they will not help you achieve it either. Therefore, learn to read the labels of the products well.

Finally, you should also take into account the amount and intensity of the exercise you practice as well as the place. It is not the same to run two hours outdoors under the sun of a summer day than to do it for an hour, on a treadmill, in the gym, where the temperature is generally pleasant.

A rule that can serve as a guide and that is easy to memorize is: water is appropriate when you are sitting on the couch or desk, studying or working, and while doing moderate exercises, such as running or cycling no more than three miles (almost 5 kilometers).

If you want, you can choose a sports drink in the following situations:

  • when you are physically active for more than one hour.
  • when you exercise in environments with high humidity or heat, in the cold or in the height.
  • If you have not eaten anything of quality before exercising.
  • If you are a fighter or participate in a sport that limits your energy consumption before weighing yourself to participate.

Also, remember that children and teenagers have to be more careful with sports drinks and it is not recommended that they drink energy drinks.

In general, most people can stay well hydrated by consuming only water, which in the end, is the most natural and healthy drink of all.

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