Today at Ontario’s Doctors, we take a look at sports drinks and when we do – and do not – need to quench our thirst with them.
It’s easy to think that when we sweat from exercise, we should reach for a bottle of orange, green, red or blue sports drinks, but people may be adding unnecessary sugar to their diet based on the amount of exercise they undertake.
Sports drinks are helpful for people who exercise intensely and/or for periods longer than one hour. They can also be beneficial for those who exercise in hot or humid weather and/or wear protective equipment that prevents sweat from evaporating (examples include football and hockey uniforms). And you may want to reach for one if you sweat lots or have very salty sweat (you can tell if you have salty sweat if you find your face is gritty with salt after a workout or you can see white salt powder on your hat or clothes after a workout).
For exercise under an hour, water typically will do in order to rehydrate. But how much?
There is no “one size fits all” rule, because each athlete will have different needs. As a starting point, most athletes need 400 to 800 mL (about 11/2 to 3 cups) or more of fluid for every hour of activity. The amount will vary based on your size, the type of activity you are doing, your fitness level and the temperature and humidity in which you are exercising.
Visit the Globe and Mail to read more about water, sodium and potassium and carbohydrate replenishing.