Exercising is a key component in a healthy lifestyle, but recovering from your choice of exercise is typically overlooked. We’ve all been in those situations after an intense workout where we need something to drink because our body have just worked so hard. When you exercise your body produces sweat to maintain a stable balance while your body is hard at work and your body needs fluid before, during and after exercising to prevent dehydration. So water should you be drinking in the situations for your body to compete at high levels and regain strength afterwards. Water is always a smart choice in every situation, but sports drink and milk have also been a high topic of discussion.
Hydrating your body is key in all three stages of exercising because your body needs to be replenished after it has been fatigued throughout your workout. An article that I found discussed the many factors that go into hydrating your body such as when, how, and how much. According to David Spierer sport scientist, water is the go to drink
when working out for a short period of time, but when your workouts are more intense water does not replenish your electrolytes. Sports drinks such as Gatorade contain sodium, potassium, and calcium which are direct factors in regaining electrolytes. According to the school ofmedicine at the University of North Carolina sports drinks with 4 to 8 percent of carbohydrates and sodium are more effective when working out for longer and strenuous periods of time than water. A brief survey done by the American College of Sports Medicine gave the recommended amounts of fluids that should be consumed before, during, and after a heavy workout (those statistics can be found in the article). They did not specify weather water or a sports drink was the better choice.
A study done by the University of Wisconsin surveyed people who walked on a treadmill for 90 minutes that drank Gatorade before the process. The hot conditions seemed to a variable that altered the physical performance of the participants who drank water, the Gatorade drinkers were found to have lower levels of exhaustion. The variable of the conditions you work out in was something that caught my eye because according to Spierer, water is the better choice in colder conditions because it moves through your body at a faster rate.
Another study done in Minneapolis and Bloomington was conducted of youth basketball players, ages 6-13, majority of them being female. Eight groups were formed with parents who surveyed the players and reported to the doctors with their findings. The study was done based off of their practice performances four times, and although it was not a game parents still commented on what they thought was the best for these during and after games. A survey was given to the parents that participated about the food and beverage choices they thought were appropriate for games. The study did not end of reporting which beverage was the better choice, but it did get feedback from parents about what they thought was the ideal choice. The study focused more on the nutrition side of preparing for games and recovering after them with foods such as fruits, dairy, and healthy sandwiches. They did have comments about sports drinks such as Gatorade, one side said that Gatorade was good for their kids since in replenishes electrolytes and can improve performance but other commented on the sugar intake from these drinks which can end up holding an athlete back from peak performance.
The take away that I got from this was that their needs to be a balance between the two and one can’t override the other. Water is always good to drink since it helps your body out in so many ways, but after exercising for a long time it doesn’t provide the same compounds a sports drink contains. I was always told to drink water during exercising because the sugar in sports drinks can slow you down but I also believe in balance so I would have a Gatorade at my disposable as well. I think that since hydrating after exercising is the time where you consume the most amount and replenish your electrolytes Gatorade is the choice because that will even out with the water you have consumed since you drank that before and during exercising. Although companies like Gatorade have started to market sports drinks for all three stages of exercise, I believe that water still needs to be the top choice since you haven’t lost anything yet. My reason behind it is because if your body is hydrated with water, that is much easier to work off than the sugar from sports drinks and since your body is saturated with sugar it will perform at a high level.
Kent, Linda T. “Gatorade Vs. Water.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 6 June 2015, www.livestrong.com/article/75369-gatorade-vs.-water/.
Thomas, Megan. “Exploring Parent Perceptions of the Food Environment in Youth Sport.” ScienceDirect, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 14 Apr. 2012.