Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of physical activity. In Clinics of Sports Medicine, it explains that “Maintenance of water and electrolyte balance is important for sustaining cognitive and physical performance. Dehydration degrades morale and desire to work. Body water deficits of as little as 2% body weight can impair physical performance. Water deficits of 5% to 7% body weight are associated with headaches, dizziness, and apathy” (Latzka, Montain 1). To prevent dehydration and its effects a medical team created Gatorade for the University of Florida’s football team in 1965. Since then, there has been a large market of beverages to hydrate athletes and improve performance. In Sports and Energy Drinks: Answers for Fitness Professionals, it explains that the three main goals of sports drinks since they were created 40 years ago are: to prevent dehydration, replace electrolytes in sweat, and provide carbohydrates for use during exercise (Kravitz, Mayo par. 2-4). Do these sport drinks actually enhance performance and hydrate better then water? Sports drinks and water both have advantages and disadvantages in how well they are absorbed, what minerals they contain, their ability to boost energy, and how well they taste.
Water is great for hydration and moves rapidly through the blood stream, but without the necessary sodium, it does not absorb into working muscles as well as sports drinks. In Tomorrow’s Beverages Today, it states that,
“Quaff a sports drink on the run, and its vital fluids will get to your working muscles more quickly than if you were to drink an equal amount of plain water. This is because most sports drinks contain between 4 and 8 percent carbohydrate plus small amounts of sodium, which speeds the passage of the water through the walls of the stomach” (Burfoot 61).
Another cause of the difference between how sports drinks and water are absorbed through the body is that water has no sodium. In Men’s Fitness Magazine, it explains that sodium helps the body hold onto water and helps fluid get to the muscles and blood. Amy Epstein also found that drinking too much water is the cause of hypernatremia, a condition that occurs a lot in athletes who drink a lot of water without the necessary sodium. This can actually cause you to lose fluid (Epstein par. 3-6). Water absorbs quickly into the bloodstream to hydrate the body, but sports drinks absorb even faster because of the minerals contained. Quote
Sports drinks are full of minerals. The minerals are not only great for absorption but to replenish what a body loses during strenuous exercise. Usually replenishment of those minerals is only needed for long hard exercise. In an article from Men’s Fitness Magazine it explains that water is a great choice for light physical activity. It will satisfy thirst and hydration needs (Ward par. 2). This is because Quote Sports drinks, however, are better for long or vigorous exercise. In the article from Science Direct it...