Replacing Lost Electrolytes
Many of the sports drinks on the market are artificially flavored water with added electrolytes. Electrolytes specifically refer to minerals dissolved in the body’s fluids, creating electrically charged ions. The most important electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate which are naturally lost through sweat. Consuming a sports beverage is one of the easier ways to restore electrolyte balance. You should be fine if you are only going for a short stroll around the block or pushing through a light lifting session.
Lower The Carbohydrates
Drinks that contain more than 10 percent carbohydrates may cause digestive distress and discomfort. Avoid slowing the rate of rehydration by sticking with sports drinks with 1 to 3 percent carbohydrates. You might not get the energy boost you desire, but it will help with fluid absorption.
Pre And Post-Workout
If you haven’t eaten in several hours, a sports drink can serve as a pre-workout energy boost. Those who exercise early in the morning might not have time to prepare a pre-workout snack, so a sports drink might be a good substitute for some workout fuel. After the workout, you will need carbohydrates to refill the glycogen stores you burned through during the exercise. Gatorade or Powerade can be a quick source of post-workout carbs. A protein-filled snack would also help with muscle repair and growth.
A light to moderate intensity workout lasting less than an hour could be replenished with plain water, as a sports drink offers little benefit outside of a workout (adding extra sugar and calories to your diet). Water, low-fat milk or an occasional 100 percent fruit juice at meals or snack time will do the trick. A pre and post workout sports drink is recommended for exercises lasting over an hour with moderate to high intensity.