Sports drink vs Water

Sunday, 30 March 2014 - 7:25am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

We spoke to fitness experts to know which is better to have during and post workout and why...

Ever since the market's been flooded with various sports drinks available in various brands, flavours, colours and cool-shaped bottles, it's become fashionable to be seen sipping sports drinks during your workouts or even while going for a humble jog. It's almost like an accessory to your workout gear. You might certainly look cool chugging a sports drink when exercising and like the taste of it, but is it necessary to have it? Is the addititional expenditure on them worth it? What about the good ol' water? Read on to know more.

Trendy to sip sports drinks
Health experts agree that it is considered fashinable to be spotted with a sports drink. "It's uncessary for a lay person to be sipping sports drinks during their workout. It would take a lay person years toundergo an intensive level of working out that requires sports drinks. Professional runners, sportspersons, actors, models who do compelling workouts need them," opines holistic health guru Mickey Mehta.

How sports drinks replenish the body?
Replenishing the body plays an crucial role while working out because there's sweating involved. "There occurs a loss of body salts like sodium and there's an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. As a result, there's dehydration, cramps, thirst, fatigue. That's is why it's important to replenish the body and maintain the sugar levels. And sports drinks help in this purpose, to absorb sugar faster into the blood and lymphatic system. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates in the form of sugars, and some sports drinks also contain proteins in the form of amino acids. Beacuse there's wear and tear of the muscles while working out, the proteins in the sports drinks compensate for the loss," says Shalini Bhargava, fitness expert at JG's Fitness Centre.

Who requires them?
Not every person who hits the gym necessarily needs to sip sports drinks. Just because you're going out for a jog or simply like the taste of sports drink doesn't mean you should guzzle it. Ideally, sports drinks are meant for professional runners and sportpersons, who train way more intensively than a lay person.

"If one is working out beyond 90 minutes, then is the time one actaully requires it. You have to remember sports drinks also contain calories. Personally, I have don't drink them, may be on rare occasions. Water works just fine. Also, there's no need to spend uncessarily on purchasing sports drinks. A glass of water with lime, little sugar and a pinch of salt or coconut water is a good cheaper alternative," informs Bhargava.

Better alternatives to sports drinks
There are health experts who believe that there are better options to hydrtaing the body duirng and after your workouts than sports drinks. "I will not deny that there is no well-engineered sports drinks around in the market. In today's age of competitive sports, there is no well-formulated drinks for sportseprsons and professinal runners. If one is a lay person during their normal workout, then plain water or coconut water will do. However, there are other alternatives like: diluted orange juice mixed with rock salt, a pinch of pepper, a bit of jaggery; diluted orange juice with some mint leaves, cinnamon and rock salt; coconut water with kokum, rock salt and a bit of jaggery," explains Mehta.

Hydrating yourself
Here's how much water you should drink before, during and after your workout:
- About one to two hours before the workout around 500 ml.
During - Around 200 ml every 15 minutes.
After - Around a litre of water.

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