Posted: May 26, 2014
Week 3: What to drink when exercising? Water? Sport drinks? Electrolyte gels? Energy drinks? The choices you have in store are endless but which one are really worth it? Water is always a good choice. Water contains no calorie, no sugar, no additive, etc. Your body always needs water, even when you are not exercising. To be more environmental friendly, use a refillable water bottle. Sport drinks like Gatorade or PowerAde are a mix of water, sugar, flavor and electrolytes (Sodium and Potassium). They might be useful but only in specific situation: when you exercise for more than 90 minutes at a moderate to vigorous intensity or when you exercise in very hot weather. If you go for a quick run or play one hour of soccer, water is still the best choice. Energy drinks (ex: Redbull, Monster, Red Rain, Rockstar, Amp, Five hour Energy) claim to give you more energy and make you more alert. However, they contain too much caffeine and sugar and also contain other ingredients such as guarana, which has 2-3 times more caffeine than a coffee bean. Caffeine can cause nervousness, anxiety, stomach/intestinal upset, rapid heart rate, trouble sleeping, headache, fatigue, irritability and poor concentration. Most energy drinks contain more sugar and caffeine than what is recommended for kids and very close or over what is recommended for adults. On top of that, because they are still fairly new, their long term effect on our health is unknown. Therefore, energy drinks are never a good option and drinking them before exercising won’t give you energy to move but will make it dangerous to do physical activity. Most electrolyte gels, powder, etc. are like sports drinks but in concentrated format so when consuming them, you also need to drink lots of water. Like sports drinks, you only need them when you exercise for long period of times. For example, someone that runs marathon might need more than water and their concentrated format makes them easier to carry than a sport drink. Bottom line: Unless you are an athlete, water is always the best choice!