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Water vs. Sport Drinks

Posted Mar 17 2010 10:35pm

Since the inception of sport drinks, there has been a debate as to whether water or sport drinks are better for hydration purposes and health purposes in general. The truth of the matter is that water is better in some instances, while sport drinks are more beneficial in others.

water vs sports drinks

When Water is Better

Water seems to be the best thing for you when you are just trying to stay hydrated, and not exercising, or when you are doing moderate exercise. The reason for this is that water has no calories, and in moderate exercise, if you consume higher calorie sport drinks, you may be defeating the purpose of the exercise overall. Water is recommended by experts when the exercise that you are doing will last for less than one hour.

When Sport Drinks are Better

If you will be exercising for more than one hour, or sixty minutes, good sport drinks are recommended. With that said, however, it is a proven fact that if you are just looking for hydration, water is always the best choice. However, you need four to six ounces of water for every twenty minutes of exercise, which is why a sport drink is the better choice for longer durations of exercise.

The reason that sport drinks are better than water during longer periods of exercise is due to the taste, we are more likely to drink greater amounts of it. The fact that it does nothing to quench your thirst will also contribute to drinking greater amounts, which in turn results in better hydration than water, simply because we are putting so much into our bodies at one time.

Hydration Needs

Even if you are doing more intense exercise, ideally water will be alternated with a sport drink so that you get all of the pure benefits of water as well as the benefits of the sport drink. This is the only way that you will truly quench your thirst, but in the end, it’s all about hydration and your personal tastes. If you like the taste of a sport drink better than water, you will drink more of the sport drink, which will be the best hydration choice for you, personally.

You must also consider the electrolytes that are found in sport drinks, as water doesn’t have nearly the same amount. If you are losing a great number of electrolytes during your exercise, the sport drink is the better choice.

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