Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
It’s getting warmer outside so remember to keep well hydrated. Water is the best rehydration drink around for normal outdoor activity. The fancy electrolyte containing drinks such as Powerade, Gatorade and others aren’t really necessary unless you are doing intense athletic activity.
And by the time you notice that you are thirsty, you are already about 10% dehydrated, so drink water BEFORE you start an activity, continuing drinking water while you are active, and drink water after you are done.
For intense athletic activities, here are the 5 Hydration Dos and Don’ts:
1. Don’t Drink Caffeine Drinks
Soft drinks are never a good option during sports. “They have no electrolytes, so they really don’t replenish what the body needs,” says Chris Carmichael, who heads a training company for personal coaches in Colorado Springs, Colo.
2. Do Consider Sports Drinks During Intense Workouts
When you exercise heavily, you lose water and salts in your sweat. Gatorade was an advance over water because it added a number of electrolytes that were lost in sweat, says Steven Zeisel, MD, PHD, chairman of nutrition at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
3. Don’t Bother With Electrolyte-Plus Drinks
Any add-ons to the basic electrolyte drink — whether it’s choline, creatine, or something else — “makes no difference to anyone except the professional who cares whether they finish 1/10th or 1/000th of a second faster than the other person,” says Zeisel. “Most everyday athletes are not going to notice or care about it. But for the person who won the Boston Marathon, it might be what they need.”
4. Do Consider ‘Recovery Drinks’ for Muscles
However, “recovery drinks” like Endurox R-4 help endurance athletes recover from the workout, says Carmichael. “Recovery drinks have a heavier mix of carbohydrate replenishment, they replenish glycogen stores, and usually have antioxidants to help reduce muscle stress and protein to help muscle recovery.” “Even the weekend warrior who plays a lot of tennis one day, who is sore the next day, could benefit from drinking one within the first 30 minutes after playing. It helps reduce muscle stress,” Carmichael tells WebMD.
5. Do and Do Again: Drink Water
For less-intensive exercisers, water will do, says Zeisel. Don’t even bother with bottled water — good old tap water works just fine. “When it comes to exercise and water loss, tap water and bottled water are all the same.”