Designed to replenish lost sugars and nutrients while participating in physical activity, sports drinks seem to be everywhere these days. Every gas station, every supermarket, and every sporting store seems to carry them in stock. Sports drinks are pushed onto every athlete and are marketed to make athletes think that they are a necessity in order to compete successfully. Can these drinks actually be hurting you?
The fact is that these sports drinks are most beneficial and known for replacing lost electrolytes during perspiration, but what is an electrolyte exactly? Simply speaking, an electrolyte is an ionic compound that breaks down into positive and negative ions in solution. (ion-charged particle) Even more simply speaking, NaCl or common table salt is an electrolyte. While these drinks do provide other benefits that may be beneficial to you performance, the truth is that these drinks are basically marketing themselves as flavored salt solutions that are packed with sugar.
Don’t get me wrong though, as you sweat you lose sodium which plays a huge role in muscle contraction in the human body. I am just trying to bring into knowledge the reality of the situation. In fact, as an athlete and biologist, I recommend these drinks to a certain extent. Know however, that drinking only these liquids without also maintaining a steady intake of pure water can ultimately lead to dehydration. Because they are also packed with electrolytes (salt), they can actually cause the same effect as drinking salt water which leads to fatigue, muscle cramps, or sometimes worse in extreme scenarios.
So instead of drinking solely athletic drinks during physical activity, make sure you are mixing it up a bit. Make sure that you are also maintaining a steady intake of water along with your sports supplement in order to maintain peak physical and mental performance conditions in your body.
Another helpful tip is to drink the Isotonic versions of sports drinks which are mixed specifically to the requirements of your body. A less costly option as well is to mix your own sport drink using the powder supplements. This option will allow a person to concentrate their drinks as they see fit.