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News Room: ENQUIRER: Grab the right drink for workout hydration

To download a pdf of this article, please click here.

By: Toni Schklar

If you are actively exercising or involved in an activity that lasts more than an hour, fruit juice diluted with water or a sports drink will provide carbohydrates for energy and minerals to replace lost electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) in your sweat.

Avoid using caffeinated power drinks for energy after exercising. In this circumstance, the caffeine could be detrimental by increasing the heart rate, creating a state of agitation and leading an individual to the mistaken belief that he/she is adequately hydrating and replacing essential nutrients.

Sports drinks can boost energy and increase glucose (sugar) in the blood. According to dietitians who specialize in sports nutrition, you should read the label to determine which sports drink is best for you. Ideally, each 8-ounce serving will provide approximately:
  • 14 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 28 mg of potassium.
  • 100 mg of sodium.

The drink’s carbohydrates should come from glucose, sucrose, and/or fructose – all of which are easily and quickly absorbed. It shouldn’t be carbonated, as the bubbles can lead to an upset stomach.

Avoid drinks that utilize artificial sweeteners – these don’t provide the glucose needed to replenish the body after exercising. If you’re worried about the added calories, dilute the drink with water or pour it over ice. Sports drinks can be utilized effectively after an hour or more of exercise. For less than an hour of exercise, water is typically adequate.

Fitness waters are lightly flavored and have added vitamins and minerals. The additional nutrients are meant to supplement a healthy diet, not replace losses from exercise. Some people prefer the flavor over plain water because it has more taste.

Super waters have been advertised as being enhanced with a variety of things, but there is no FDA oversight of the claims that these waters can burn fat or that they can promote weight loss. But they do provide hydration.

Note: If you plan to vigorously exercise and want to be certain you are adequately hydrating, weigh yourself before you start and again when you are finished. For each pound lost, drink 20 ounces of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluid.

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