The Great Debate: Sports Drinks or Water?

Your body becomes dehydrated when you are involved in physical activity for extended periods of time. Rule number one is to always keep your body hydrated with fluids. Keeping your body hydrated while exercising allows your body to maintain fluid balance and keeps your body temperature cool.

Before or during exercise it is best to drink water or diluted sports drinks for immediate absorption. Diluted sports drinks allow your body to gain sodium, potassium, and electrolytes. However, there are some instances when your body requires sports drinks over water. It is best to drink a sports drink after exercise because it helps restore the balance of sugars and electrolytes in your body. When choosing a sports drink it is important to look for options that are low in sugars. The chart below even recommends coconut water, for non-salty sweaters, as an alternative to water and sports drinks.

The chart, provided by the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, lists some general tips to follow when choosing water or sports drinks:

Now get out outside, be active, have fun, and stay hydrated!