Do Sports Drinks Help with Hydration?
Safe to say, we had a scorcher of a summer. But, as we head into winter it can be all too easy to forget the basics such as staying hydrated when you’re training. So, making an effort to take on plenty of fluid (and we don’t mean beer) shouldn’t come as an afterthought.
During the cooler months, we still need to replace all that lovely sweat that drips off us and replenish all the good stuff that leaves our bodies within that sweat, electrolytes for instance. Dehydration is no fun at all, and it’s a cunning little fella that can creep up on you. The question is therefore, how best to do this – to make sure you stay nice and hydrated while exercising this winter?
Of course, you have old mate water itself, good old H2O. Safe to say that does a pretty decent job of hydrating you, as does eating foods with high water content: cucumber, tomatoes, water melon (surprise surprise), spinach, broccoli, orange, apples. So, you can easily tailor you diet to make sure you’re getting these hydrating foods in alongside your staples.
But what about sports drinks such as Staminade? Are they a good way to stay hydrated?
The plain and simple answer is yes, definitely yes. Interestingly, sports drinks have three components to them (water, electrolytes and carbohydrates) that arguably make them a more attractive option to taking on just plain water when exercising, especially for longer periods of time. And here’s why…
Sports drinks help to maintain the stimulus to drink.
Studies have shown that powdered sports drinks containing electrolytes such as sodium or magnesium can increase voluntary drinking significantly compared to drinking plain water. This is because the electrolytes within the drink help to maintain the stimulus to drink. And therefore, drinking regularly, the better hydrated you are. Science.
Sports drinks help to re-fuel and re-energise you alongside hydration.
Powdered sports drinks (also known as electrolyte drinks) contain electrolytes and carbohydrates alongside water. Water obviously helps to rehydrate you, tick. Electrolytes help to maintain/replenish your electrolyte levels that can become depleted through excess sweating, tick. And carbohydrates, well, what do they do?
As you exercise your body uses glycogen for energy (glycogen is effectively a fancy word for carbohydrates stored within your body), and as these glycogen stores run low, so can your energy levels. If you’re training for long periods of time therefore (over 60/90 minutes), or even if you’re simply very active throughout the day (e.g. working as a builder during an Aussie summer, or a chef, or hiking for hours on end) then consider taking on a sports drink. Not only will they help you to stay hydrated, but will provide your body with an often much-needed injection of carbohydrates (energy) to allow you to keep on doing what you’re doing.
So, next time you’re out on the bike, or heading for a long run or even a long old stint in a hot and stuffy place of work, try adding a scoop of Staminade sports powder to your water bottle. Not only will it make your drink all luminous and mysterious looking, it should help you to stay hydrated, maintain balance of your electrolyte levels, and give you a much-needed energy kick when you start slacking.
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