Drinking In Sports - Sports Drinks

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Drinking In Sports - Sports Drinks
Drinking In Sports - Sports Drinks
Video: Drinking In Sports - Sports Drinks
Video: Do sports drinks and energy bars make you a better athlete? (CBC Marketplace) 2023, February

Drink properly while exercising

Water is our elixir of life. Drinking enough and the right drink is therefore also very important in sport. The body sends various signals to alert you to a lack of fluids. The occurrence of a feeling of thirst is a sign that there is already a lack of fluids and that a loss of performance can be expected. In order to optimally promote your health, the right amount, the choice of drink and when to drink are important.


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  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • How much fluid does the body need during exercise?
  • Additives in beverages?
  • How do I recognize a lack of fluids?
  • Why do we sweat while exercising?
  • Which drinks are suitable for athletes?

How much fluid does the body need during exercise?

Having enough fluids is important for health. The daily intake of an adult without any sporting activity is around one and a half liters, depending on body weight. The right amount of water to drink in sport is individual and is determined by the amount of sweat, body size, duration of exercise and the level of training.

Before the training

In principle, it is advisable not to go into training thirsty.

While the training

If the training lasts less than an hour, there is no need to drink during this time.

Note Very high ambient or outside temperatures are an exception. It is recommended to drink during training.

Instead of a sports drink, water can be drunk for short periods of exertion or for fat metabolism training. Sports drinks are usually not useful for fitness athletes. Those who do sport two or three times a week do not have an increased need for carbohydrates and therefore drink water or unsweetened drinks against thirst. Water or other unsweetened drinks are also preferable for light training sessions, in light training phases or when the goal of training is primarily weight or fat loss. Too much energy can lead to unwanted body fat gain.

For exercise lasting 60 minutes and longer, you can drink sips every 20 minutes during training (approx. 150 ml). For intense exercise lasting several hours, it is important to use a sports drink containing carbohydrates, such as a diluted fruit juice, as hypo or isotonic Drink to be preferred to pure water. Carbohydrate and salty drinks are absorbed the fastest by the body and encourage drinking.

After training

After exercising, it is recommended that you take in about one and a half times the amount of fluid that was previously excreted as sweat. A weight check before and after exercise (weighing test) can be used to determine exactly how much sweat was excreted during exercise. For example, if you weigh 500 grams less after exercising, this corresponds approximately to the amount excreted in the sweat, i.e. 500 ml.

Additives in beverages?

Vitamin supplements are usually not necessary for drinks. Likewise, additives such as sweeteners and sugar substitutes have no place in a sports drink. Sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, acesulfame) do not provide any energy and sugar substitutes (e.g. erythritol) can cause digestive problems in large quantities and have a laxative effect.

You can get more information about fat burners and Co. in hobby sport.

How do I recognize a lack of fluids?

The first sign of a fluid deficit (dehydration) is a decrease in performance. Feeling thirsty and the later onset of increased heart rate are also to be interpreted as signals. Due to the lack of water, the muscle cells are no longer adequately supplied with oxygen and nutrients, which can have a negative effect, especially in endurance sports.

In addition, it can lead to concentration and coordination disorders as well as overheating. Another indication of dehydration is the color of the urine. For example, a dark urine indicates a poor fluid supply. Conversely, a light colored urine indicates a good hydration.

Tip Drink before you get thirsty!

Why do we sweat while exercising?

Sweating can be annoying and uncomfortable, but the evaporation process on the surface of the skin has a cooling effect and prevents the body from overheating. Sweating is therefore a clever protective system for the body.

In addition to water, sweat also contains electrolytes, the most important of which are sodium and chloride. Therefore, the skin can taste slightly salty after a sweaty exercise session. Small amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper and zinc are also excreted in sweat.

Trained athletes sweat more than less trained people. According to this, they have to drink more, but due to the strong flow of sweat they are better able to cool the body and remain productive.

Depending on the intensity of the exercise and the ambient temperature, exercise can lead to a loss of fluids of up to two liters per hour.

Tip Sodium-containing drinks are particularly important when it is hot, as a lack of salt can be the cause of muscle cramps. A pinch of table salt in the sprayed fruit juice gives the body back lost sodium and chloride.

Which drinks are suitable for athletes?

  • Water quickly replaces the loss of fluid, as it is in the bloodstream after about ten to 20 minutes. Still, high-sodium mineral waters are particularly suitable, as they do not irritate the stomach and provide table salt. You can also use unsweetened fruit teas.
  • Diluted fruit juices (3: 1 to 1: 1), especially apple, grape or currant juice, are classic in sports alongside water. Compared to orange or grapefruit juice, their fruit acid content is lower, which makes them more digestible for the stomach. Water, tea and highly diluted fruit juices (at least in a ratio of 1: 3) are also referred to as hypotonic. This means that they contain fewer solutes than the blood. Hypotonic drinks are therefore very suitable for quickly compensating for the loss of fluid.

Note Larger amounts of fruit juice can lead to mild diarrhea and tooth decay due to the fructose content.

  • Due to their high sugar content, energy drinks provide around 500 kcal per liter, depending on the brand. In addition to sugar, caffeine and taurine are also typical ingredients. However, the heavily advertised taurine does not improve performance. The stimulating effect is solely due to the caffeine, which is found in energy drinks in very high quantities and can lead to side effects such as nervousness, dizziness or headache.

    Pure or slightly diluted juices as well as energy drinks and lemonades are also referred to as hypertonic. Due to the high proportion of carbohydrates such as fructose, they contain more dissolved particles compared to blood. Since they stay longer in the stomach, it takes longer for the liquid in the drinks to be available. Thus, hypertonic drinks are not ideal sports drinks.

  • Isotonic drinks contain as many dissolved particles as blood and are the quickest to replace the water balance. They are particularly recommended for long endurance exercise, as they also provide energy.

Tip Make isotonic drinks yourself:

- Mix fruit juice with very sodium-rich, still mineral water in a ratio of 1: 2 or 1: 1 (one part of juice to one to two parts of sodium-rich mineral water).

- Alternatively: one liter of water with four tablespoons of maltodextrin and one tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of table salt.

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