Sportsmen and women above all need to ensure that they stay fully hydrated at all times, especially before and after taking part in sports events, especially if they are longer than an hour. The question that many athletic individuals ask however is “What is the best drink?”
Sports drinks, juice, carbonated drinks, water; which is best for sportsmen and women? The most important fact that we need to be aware of and remember is that the human body consists of around 70% water, and it is vital that this balance be maintained in order for your body to function optimally.
Humans lose 2% – 6% of their body-weight during exercise, which means that it is vital that you drink liquid both prior to and after exercising. It is important however that you drink the correct liquids:
Juice: Drinking juice is normally considered very healthy, but juice is not the ideal drink after exercise as the fructose in it minimises the rate of water absorption in the cells, which makes getting rehydrated take far longer.
Carbonated (Fizzy) Drinks: Carbonated drinks generally contain a lot of sugar, which may seem to give you energy, but they are not really healthy to drink at any stage, and after exercise is no exception.
Alcohol: It may be great to drink an icy cold beer after exercising, but it is never a good idea as alcohol actually dehydrates your body. Rather hydrate yourself fully first, then socialise with a drink if you want.
Sports Drinks: Most sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates which will help to rehydrate your body quickly.
Water: Water is easily available, and will hydrate you much faster and better than any other liquid. Drinking water around two hours before any prolonged exercise and directly afterwards will ensure that you remain fully hydrated and that your body will function optimally. If you are exercising for longer than one hour then make sure that you also drink water during the exercise.