Water Vs. Sports Drinks – Which Is Better For An Athlete?

by Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated July 12, 2021
The 2021 NBA Finals is changing locations, going from the Valley of the Sun to the western shores of Lake Michigan. The Phoenix Suns were blown out of Game 3 of the NBA Finals 120-100 by the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday night. Who will win NBA championship 2021. Chris Paul win after 16 NBA seasons of bad luck and has Point God’s time finally come?
Asides from the buzz, there is an important message for everyone. If you are interested in getting fitter and maintain good physical condition during work out, you should slow down on other drinks and drink more water.

Is Water The Best Drink During Exercise?

Your immune system needs enough water to function optimally. For example, cellular functions may get impaired without enough water in the system. Furthermore, you need water to regulate the body temperature, which often gets relatively high during physical activities. Water also comes in handy in lubricating tissues, organs, and joints.
When exercising or doing a sports activity, the body demands more than ordinary water to perform optimally. That is why some people take sports drinks, which are excellent fuel sources for energy. However, not all sports drinks are the same. Therefore, you must know the suitable types and when to have them.

Dehydration Slows Down Your Workouts

Dehydration is more likely to occur during workouts if you do not drink enough fluids. The common symptoms of dehydration are muscle fatigue, low energy, dry mouth, and headaches. Aside from these symptoms, you may also experience physical and mental drains, limiting your productivity.
For optimal performance, drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. However, this may differ based on your age, size, gender, and intensity of physical activities. For example, you need less water if you are always indoors relaxing than an athlete in training.

What Amount Of Water Is Suitable For An Athlete Daily?

Drinking water before, during, and after a workout is vital to ensure your body is well-hydrated. The American Council of Exercise recommends 17-20 ounces of water two hours before starting working out and 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes of your workout sessions. After your session, weigh yourself and drink 16-24 ounces of water for every pound of weight you have lost during the session. You should also factor in the weight of the drink you consumed during the workout. The post-workout weighing and water consumption are best done within half an hour after your workout.
While these are standard recommendations, they do not necessarily apply to everyone. You can adjust them to suit your needs. For example, if you expel a lot of sweat when exercising, you can drink more water. You can avoid dehydration while warming up and cooling down by drinking extra 8 ounces of water in each case. Dehydration triggers the body’s thirst mechanism, so try to drink water before you get thirsty.

What Are The Best Liquids?

You will find several varieties of water and sports drinks out there, making it challenging to pick the best. You can replace the electrolytes you lose through sweating by taking sports drinks. But you need plain water to properly re-hydrate you during and after short, low-intensity physical activities.
Drinking water is as important as drinking safe, quality drinking water. Test your water using instant test kits to find out what it contains, and this applies to well water, tap water, and even bottled water. Testing your water is even more important if your physical sessions bring you in contact with nature.

Bottled Water

Whether you are doing a light workout or resting, water is the best fluid for hydration. If your workouts do not exceed an hour, you can stick to ONLY water. While bottled water is convenient, it contributes to plastic pollution. The eco-friendly option is to drink from tap water, but the uncertainty around the local water quality is another thing to worry about. Most tap water often contains contaminants that confer acidic taste and unusual smell on it. If these contaminants are present in amounts higher than the Maximum Contaminant Levels, it causes serious problems for your liver, kidney, bones, and skin. These may impair your circulatory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

Filterd Water

Despite being the eco-friendly alternative to bottled water, tap water is not safe for drinking, except the organic and inorganic contaminants mentioned above are expelled. This is where the Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System comes in.
Waterdrop D4 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
Waterdrop D4 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System relies on an innovative filtration technology coupled with a 5-in-1 composite filter set up to deliver an excellent filtration process. The various integrated filtration materials are effective against a host of contaminants, including sediments, chlorine, bacteria, chemicals, heavy metals, viruses, and every other impurity larger than 0.0001 microns. The system is also effective against TDS, which means it can remove the hardness in hard water.
The 12.44-inches tall system requires only a little under sink space. The compact size also makes it suitable for RV use. However, if you want to use the Waterdrop D4 for your well water, it is best to install a pre-filter. A pre-filter helps to block out large particles in water, including microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, heavy metals, and sediments. Without this initial filtration, your RV and other water-related appliances may get clogged by these large particles.

Sports Drinks

If your sports or exercise session is expected to last beyond an hour or have a long, active day, you will most likely sweat more. When you sweat, you expel liquid from the body, a combination of electrolytes, sodium, and chloride. The only way to effectively replace the expelled liquid is to consume the electrolytes from a sports drink.
The higher the intensity of your workout, the more sweat your body produces, and the more sports drinks you need to consume to keep your body properly hydrated.

How Do You Stay Hydrated In The Heat Of Summer?

Knowing how much water to drink daily and when to drink it can be pretty demanding. But here are a few tips to help:
  • Start your day with a big glass of water.
  • You can add some flavor to your plain water to make it more enticing, e.g., slices of cucumber or strawberries.
  • Set a reminder to drink water regularly.
  • Get a motivational water bottle with time markers to monitor your daily water intake.

How Do You Boost Your Hydration?

Interestingly, there is more to hydration than just consuming fluids. For example, you can increase your overall hydration by following the steps below:
  • Always move around with a water bottle, whether you are exercising or just relaxing.
  • Spread your daily water intake over several occasions instead of drinking a large quantity at once.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine-containing drinks can make you lose fluids, thereby causing dehydration. If you cannot avoid it altogether, stick to only 1-2 cups daily.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Choose the right sports drinks and only consume them during extended exercise sessions. Good sports drinks contain potassium, sodium, and carbs.

In Conclusion

When Cristiano Ronaldo said “Drink water,” he was not saying it because it sounds nice but because it is the best thing for your body.
You should hydrate your body with water only, especially for adults and children. Do not take sports drinks except you are having extended or high-intensity athletic and sporting activities.
Drink water, stay healthy!

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