What drink is best for getting and staying hydrated during exercise? Should you choose water? Are sports drinks better? What about carb and protein drinks?
Water is the most important nutrient for life and has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body. When dehydrated, you can become fatigued, experience headaches, nausea, and dizziness. But to many people, taste overshadows the health related benefits of proper hydration.
The natural choice for hydration is water. It hydrates better than any other liquid, both before and during exercise. Although some people prefer the taste of water to other drinks, most people find it relatively bland and will stop drinking water before becoming fully hydrated. To avoid this issue, try adding a slice of fresh citrus or mint to boost the taste.
On the other hand, sports drinks taste delicious. Staying properly hydrated during exercise can be challenging and flavor helps you keep on drinking. Sports drinks can also be helpful to athletes who are exercising at high intensity for 60 minutes or more. Fluids supplying 60 to 100 calories per 8 ounces helps to supply the needed calories required for continuous performance. The obvious downside of sports drinks is their high levels of sugar and other additives.
When it comes to staying energized during your workouts, a beverage that includes carbohydrates is best during workouts. Carbohydrates are the main source energy in a workout. These carbohydrates will fuel your body with energy throughout the entire workout.
Regardless of what beverage your taste buds prefer, proper hydration is key. The old adage of 8 glasses a day is no longer true. Instead, think about how much you weigh and divide that number in half. That’s how many ounces of water you should drink per day. For example, a person who is 200 pounds, should drink 100 oz. of water per day to stay adequately hydrated. (That’s 12.5 glasses of water!) And athletes with a high level of muscle mass should drink even more, about two-thirds of their body weight in ounces per day.
The bottom line: Drink water for maximum hydration, but feel free to mix things up a bit to cater to your personal taste. You will drink more of what you like. Just be sure to stay hydrated no matter which type of beverage you choose to drink.