Anyone who participates in endurance exercise knows that it takes more than water to rehydrate the body after sweating heavily. Part of healthy living is staying hydrated, and you need more than water to achieve this. While you may have committed to healthy eating, taking that energy drink once in a while will do you no harm.
Not all sports drinks are the same. Every drink has something different in it. For this reason, sports drinks come in flashy packaging to make you believe they have all that it takes to keep you hydrated.
But what makes a good soft drink?
Of course, it has to be water-based, but we’ve got other important ingredients that make up a sports drink. Whenever you’re buying a sports drink, look out for the following ingredients.
Most sports drinks on the market use simple sugars like glucose. However, you should know that, the simpler the carbohydrate, the less it’s likely to hydrate you. Instead of taking drinks loaded with simple sugars, go for complex carb-based products. Such fluids exit the stomach quickly and are absorbed throughout the entire small intestine. This maximizes your rehydration and keeps you at your best after heavy sweating. A sports drink with a rice-based would work better than one loaded with fructose.
2. Potassium and Sodium
One of the primary functions of a soft drink is to replace electrolytes lost in sweat, which in this case is Sodium and Potassium. Therefore, any drink that lacks either of these two electrolytes ceases to be a sports drink. Drinks containing Potassium and Sodium ions promote a greater fluid intake, which helps in keeping you hydrated. Additionally, Sodium and Potassium regulate acid and water balance in the body, which replenishes the body tissues after a workout.
Research shows that a big percentage of sports drink nowadays omit chloride. When you sweat, there are some electrolytes you need to replace and chloride is one of them. Potassium and Sodium are the positively charged ions you lose when you sweat, whereas chloride and citrate are the negatively charged ions that flow out with sweat. These ions need to be paired with each other so that they’re absorbed back into the body. Therefore, the lack of chloride slows down the absorption of the electrolytes into the body, which results in muscle cramping. If you don’t see chloride on the label of your soft drink, know that you aren’t getting everything you need in a sports drink.
Whenever you’re buying a sports drink, take time to go through the label to make sure the ingredients listed above are included. If any of them is missing, then the drink won’t be effective, and it won’t be any different from water. Having seen what an ideal sports drink should contain, let’s now look at other factors you should consider before buying a sports drink.
- Go For Your Favorite Flavor
The purpose of a sports drink is to rehydrate you and replace the electrolytes lost through sweat. However, that doesn’t mean you go for any. It’s important to choose your favorite flavor so that you also enjoy the drink. Most sports drinks come in a variety of flavors. So, check out for your favorite flavor.
- Duration of Exercise
Not every exercise ends with a sip of sports drink. Sometimes it might just be fine to take water and call it day. Before taking a sports drink, think about the duration of the exercise. Is it less than an hour or more? For exercises below 60 minutes, water is sufficient to restore the lost fluids. However, for exercises lasting longer than 60 minutes, the consumption of a sports drink is recommended to replace the lost electrolytes and boost energy. Therefore, before spending on a bottle of sports drink, think about the duration of the exercise.
- Availability and Cost
We have a variety of sports drinks available in the market. However, not all will be at your disposal. Therefore, when choosing a sports drink, ensure you go for the easily available one. You may have come across one online, but is it worth incurring the extra shipping cost? Sports drinks serve the same purpose. So, whether you spend a fortune or a few dollars to get one, you’ll still get the same benefit.
If you participate in endurance exercises, consider taking a bottle of sports drink after your workout. With the tips above, be sure to get the best sports drink.