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Sports Drinks - Latest craze with generation sweat

by Senior Writer, Kim Paolino

Sports drinks have become the latest craze with generation sweat, and have been proven to be effective in the battle against dehydration. According to the American Council on Exercise, �sports drinks are now recommended to exercising individuals, especially when their workouts lasts longer than 45 minutes�.

But for the average exerciser who trains for only twenty to thirty minutes, water does a fine job replacing lost fluids. You don�t need the calories, or replacement of minerals that sports drinks have to offer to the longer, high-intensity endurance events like, marathon running, long distance bicycle events, or cross-county skiing.

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Studies have shown that after such events, sports drinks can rehydrate you somewhat faster than water. Whe guzzling water the thirst mechanism tends to be shut down, causing some people to stop drinking before they are actually rehydrated. Sports drinks prolong your thirst, keeping you drinking until full hydration is achieved.

There are many sports drinks on the market today. Pay attention to the percentage of carbohydrate in each drink. A good choice is one that contains 6 to 8 percent carbohydrate, listing its main source of carbs as glucose.

Glucose is the body�s preferred source of energy. Your muscles gain an added source of fuel by consuming carbohydrates during exercise, such as the sugar in sports drinks. This will help maintain a normal blood sugar level, aiding in stamina, keeping you focused and thinking clearly. Avoid drinks that contain fructose as the only source of carbohydrates. Fructose must be converted into glucose before it can enter the bloodstream, thus causing a delay in absorption.

All sports drink manufacturers taut their electrolytes. According to Covert Bailey, author of the best selling book , electrolytes are simply minerals. When minerals dissolve in the bloodstream, they form salts that take on an electrical charge. Without electrolytes nerve impulses can not be conducted, and the brain isn't able to send messages directing body movement and function. Electrolytes are also responsible for maintaining fluid levels in the body by regulating the water balance inside and outside cells.

The main electrolytes that you'll find on a sports drink label are sodium, potassium, and chloride, all of which are in great demand inside our bodies following long bouts of strenous exercise. Others minerals you might come across are calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. During intense, strenuous exercise in which you sweat a great deal, it's important to replenish your electrolytes.

Covert Bailey also stresses that consuming a sports drink (containing glucose and other sugars) before exercise can present a problem. "Sugar causes blood insulin to rise, which inhibits the release of fatty acids from the fat cells. For the first thirty minutes of exercise, your fat cells will not release the body's primary fuel. Without the fatty acids, your muscles are forced to use stored glycogen, and then the sugar in the blood, thus burning up the sugar supply even quicker than normal. Consume your sports drinks during, and after exercise, when the fatty acids have already entered the bloodstream."

Whether or not you choose to partake in the sports drink craze, continuous fluid replenishment is essential for avoiding minor to moderate dehydration. Be sensible, and stick to the following guidelines:

  • Drink 8, eight ounce glasses of water daily.
  • Consume one to two cups (8 to 16 ounces) at least one hour before the start of exercise.
  • If possible, consume eight ounces of water 20 minutes before the start of exercise.
  • Consume four to eight ounce of water every 10 to 15 minutes during the workout.

Source: Smart Exercise
American Council on Exercise
The Firefighter's Workout Book
(click here to get your copy today)