Water vs. Sports Drinks
After that cool early morning run or a workout at the gym, we tend to reach for a refreshing cool beverage. Which is more beneficial for us, water or a sports drink? Most would say “Well, of course it’s water. Water is natural and refreshing!”. However, studies show that drinking a properly formulated electrolyte boosted ‘sports drink’ can allow an overall better exercise performance. Evidence suggests that exercise-induced dehydration can negatively impact performance. It is beneficial to restore fluid in the body during and after exercise.
The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University conducted a study that investigated the effects of rehydration after exercise-induced dehydration. Six men became dehydrated with an intermittent cycling exercise and were then refreshed by a cool glucose-sodium sports drink or water. The sports drink proved to be more effective at maintaining and restoring hydration after sweat loss. 1
The European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology also tested six male volunteers while on a cycle ergometer. They were chosen to ingest either an electrolyte-glucose-induced sports drink, water, or no water at all at before exercising, and then at 10-minute intervals, until exhaustion. Subjects drinking sports drinks proved to have better performance and exercised longer.2
Water will always be a great source of hydration. If an extra push for a workout is needed, grab an electrolyte-glucose-induced sports drink.
- Evans GH, Shirreffs SM, Maughan RJ. Postexercise rehydration in man: the effects of osmolality and carbohydrate content of ingested drinks. Nutrition. Sep 1;25(9):905-13.
- Maughan RJ, Fenn CE, Leiper JB. Effects of fluid, electrolyte and substrate ingestion on endurance capacity. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology. Mar;58(5):481-6.