Water vs. Sports drinks

In Sports on December 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

By: Samantha Lepore

Unlike fancy sports drinks, water is simple and does an excellent job of hydrating the body without any extra calories or additives. Photo courtesy of Google Images

Every athlete knows how important it is to hydrate before and after activity, whether you are training or in an important event. It might be necessary to carry a drink with you during the workout, but this is only needed for intense sessions. The question is, what should athletes be drinking, sports drinks or water? There are more varieties of sports drinks that are coming out every year, causing athletes to turn away from a water bottle and pick up a powerade.

            Sports drink advertisements and promotions are always claiming their drinks will hydrate you for your “maximum performance”, but is this the truth? Sports drinks contain surplus sodium. Sodium is needed in the body after exercise to replace what was lost during sweat, but what is found in sports drink is more than is needed. The excess sodium found in these drinks may be harmful to those on a medication that has a side effect of varying blood pressure, though there are sports drinks available with a less sodium. They also contain sugars, artificial coloring and calories, making it more difficult to lose weight. Sports drinks are not all that bad though. “As many experts point out, sports drinks can help maintain and restore your electrolyte balance if you’re exercising strenuously for an extended period of time in warm temperatures”, author Carol Carson says. “Strenuous” exercising is not taking your dog for a walk or taking a jog down the block, it is something very long and challenging such as a marathon. Many people who drink sports drinks do not realize that they do not need such a powerful drink.

            For most average people, water, a necessity for all human life, is what is needed to hydrate the body, not a fancy sports drink. It is free, simple, and performs the job it is meant to do; hydrate the human body. It can be found almost anywhere and there is an abundance of it. It contains no calories or any extra additives unnecessary in the hydrating process. Yes, there are many drinks available for retail that offer vitamins and minerals, such as fruit drinks, but as you intend it to be a healthy drink, it becomes a counteraction because of calories and sugar.

            Do not let those “impressive” sport drink advertisements fool you, they are not magic. Though they might taste better, water is the best to drink for most. It contains everything you need with no down sides, and we do not have to pay a dollar for a bottle of it; it is available everywhere to us.


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