Water vs. Sports Drinks: What’s Best for Hydration?

Whether you’re playing sports, working out at the gym, or running around with your kids, it’s important that you stay hydrated while you exercise. Drinking before, during, and after the activity will help you avoid dehydration if you’re sweating a lot. But what should you be drinking?

Sports drinks are often recommended for periods of intense activity, but is it actually better than water at keeping you hydrated? Let’s look at the benefits of each to help you decide whether or not to stock up on sports drinks.

Hydrating with sports drinks

Sports drinks are good at keeping you hydrated during exercise, primarily because water is their main ingredient. Why they’re often marketed as more effective than water is because they also contain sugar and electrolytes. Since sugar is a carbohydrate, it helps to boost your body’s energy levels, which can improve performance or stamina during exercise or sporting events. There are different types of sports drinks, though, some of which are lower in sugar.

Electrolytes in sports drinks help to replenish those you lose through sweat. They typically contain minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium – known as electrolytes due to their electrical charge. Maintaining your electrolyte levels helps your body to effectively regulate body temperature and water levels to prevent you from overheating or becoming dehydrated during exercise.

Hydrating with water

Many experts say that water has everything you need to stay hydrated. Our bodies are made of 60% water and this needs to be continuously replenished as we lose water through sweating, urination, and other bodily processes. Plus, water has zero calories and zero sugar. This makes it healthier for you, especially if the reason you’re exercising is to try to lose weight. In fact, a 20 oz bottle of Gatorade contains around 130 calories. So, if you’re guzzling one of these before and after a workout, the calories start to add up.

The truth is that sports drinks are likely to be beneficial for elite athletes and those taking part in endurance events like a marathon. However, for the average person going for a run, playing casual sports, or spending an hour at the gym, water should be plenty.

So, a glass of tap water is at least as effective a hydrator as sports drinks, if not better. Or if you prefer purified or spring water, get in touch with Mountain Park Spring Water for an affordable and sustainable way to keep your home stocked up by using a bottled water service. We operate around Winston Salem, NC, Martinsville, VA, and surrounding areas.