Maintaining hydration is critical during and after exercise to keep us healthy and boost performance. Being well hydrated improves muscle function, regulates blood pressure, maintains body temperature, and more.
You should lose no more than 2% of your body-to-water weight for optimal exercise performance.
If you want to keep your body healthy and hydrated, is a sports drink or water better? Read on to see which is better after exercise.
When Should You Have a Sports Drink?
Sports drinks have a number of properties that are helpful for athletes:
- Amino Acids. Certain sports drinks have amino acids that help enhance muscle recovery, which can increase strength later on. However, a well-balanced diet typically contains plenty of amino acids for recovery.
- Sodium. All sports drinks contain sodium to assist with retaining water. The typical sports drink has between 35mg-200mg for every eight ounces.
- Potassium. Potassium helps maintain electrolyte balance and avoid cramping before or directly after exercise.
- Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can provide a valuable source of energy during strenuous exercise. Most athletes participating in intense workouts should consume between 30g-60g every hour. The average sports drink contains between 2g-9g
Most people do not require sports drinks when they exercise. They are specifically designed to give you more energy during a workout. It is best used for adults and children that are strenuously working out for over an hour during the exercise itself.
However, even if a sports drink is consumed during exercise, water should still be the beverage of choice after an intense workout. It is the best source of hydration for activities and does not come with the excess calories or sugar that sports drinks contain.
Sports drinks should be used sparingly. They contain a large amount of sugar that can lead to weight gain and erode tooth enamel. They were originally developed for an exercise-intense sport, football, and not for casual drinking.
Hydrate for Best Performance
After exercise, always turn to water for the best results. Many people believe that sports drinks can help replace electrolytes, but drinking water and eating a healthy diet are more than effective at maintaining electrolytes during a regular workout.
How do you know if you're drinking enough water? Check your urine. Healthy urine is mostly clear, so that is a good sign that you are keeping hydrated.
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