On average, a person is supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day or 12 ounces an hour, especially during summer seasons. This is because according to research done on our bodies, humans comprise at least 60% water. Our hearts and brains alone, comprise 73% water, and our lungs are about 83% water. To top it all, we lose a significant amount of this water throughout the day, and to keep us and our organs at optimal functionality, we need to continue to replenish ourselves, and the easiest way to do is through drinking water.
A good indication of having a good amount of liquids in our body is through the color of our urine. If it is a darker yellow, we need more water and if it is a light yellow to clear color, were doing good. Another way to tell is when you feel thirsty, which means you should have had water a while ago. It is your body’s way of asking you to replenish it again.
Sometimes signs such as dry or cracked lips, drowsiness, a dry mouth, lethargy (low energy), irritability, headaches, and dry skin, are all telltale signs that you are not getting enough H20 (molecules that make up water = Hydrogen and Oxygen). Tried and tested studies have been done on the relationship between overall athletic performance and the consumption of sports drinks, and the results are positive. To get more information on this click here.
Which One I Better for Us?
To answer this question, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’. The closest answer would be – it depends.
Let us explain.
Sports drinks are made specifically for people who want to engage in long-term activities such as exercise or training for periods longer than an hour. When you drink water alone, according to research, it will keep you going for about an hour at most before you start getting exhausted and tired.
What sports drinks do, is replace our electrolytes so that we get a boost of energy and can continue to be active for longer periods. This is why a lot of athletes drink sports drinks before, during, and after their races or marathons. The irony is, water is the main ingredient in sports drinks.
Along with water, these types of drinks also have extra additives that are beneficial to our bodies such as carbohydrates, known to improve performance. If you’re interested in learning more about how this plays a part, read this article https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fulltext/2010/02000/carbohydrates,_physical_training,_and_sport.3.aspx
The thing to keep in mind here is, not all sports drinks are made equal. With the advent of so many new and so-called ‘improved’ junk products hitting retail shelves every month, it is becoming more and more difficult to choose the right one. With all their attractive product packaging and their fancy components, and advertising. The best thing you can do is stick with the healthy alternatives that have additions to them that you know about, and are familiar to you, such as coconut water, sea salt, monk fruit instead of sugar, raw fruit juices, to name a few.
What Can They Do for You?
By drinking these healthier options instead of water or carbonated drinks, one can acquire several benefits. Some of these are explained below.
Potassium. Which is the same mineral in bananas and the reason why a lot of soccer players eat it, is because not only does it provide energy, but it also helps aid muscle recovery after sports.
Sodium. This is what our sweat is comprised of. When we work out, we sweat. This is water leaving the body. When we drink something that has Sodium in it, we are replacing the lost water, keeping ourselves nourished, and putting back the sodium that needs to be there i.e. retain it.
Healthy options of sports drinks are few and far between, however, the good news is some brands are taking over with their healthy options, one such company is greater than sports drink, that has sugar free electrolyte drinks with natural sodium in them.
Carbohydrates. Come in many forms such as glucose, glycogen, and fructose, whose function it is to optimize recovery and sustain performance. It acts as a source of fuel for the body, making sure your glycogen levels are kept at an optimal level.
Amino acids. Typically used to fast-forward muscle recovery after any sports or workouts. One would normally get these from a well-balanced diet, but let’s face it, not everyone has the time to eat properly, and thus, having a drink with these vitamins and minerals in it, can help beat the blues.
As per the information provided above, the preference would be yours, but there is never any harm in adding a little something extra ‘healthy’ to your daily exercise routine from time to time.