Which is Best for Athletes – Gatorade or Drinking Water?

gatoradeFor those who play sports regularly, the question often comes up: which is more beneficial for you while exercising, Gatorade or water? There is no doubt that we lose a lot of fluid and electrolytes when we perspire. If you are someone who keeps active with outdoor sports, you will need to replace these electrolytes by drinking water or other fluids. If these fluids are not replaced, you could suffer from dehydration, which could lead to serious complications, including dysfunction of the natural ability to regulate body temperature. Dehydration can be prevented by drinking either beverage – water or Gatorade. Below are the benefits of each.

Water consumption during exercise

Drinking water helps your body perform a number of essential functions that keep it in balance and hydrated. These include transporting nutrients to cells, regulating body temperature and removing waste products. When you are physically active, this causes you to perspire and potentially lose a significant amount of water. Water loss results in thirst, and possibly even dehydration. It is very important, especially when exercising, to drink water and rehydrate the body.

What is Gatorade?

Gatorade is the brand name for a popular sports drink that is often consumed by those who participate in intense physical activities. It is best known for being the drink that football players drink during a game, and pour over each other after a major victory. Gatorade and other similar sports drinks contain electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, which are naturally produced by the body. It also contains a certain amount of carbohydrates. The National Athletic Training Association specifies that sports drinks should not contain any more than 8 percent carbohydrates. While the sodium found in Gatorade helps the body retain the fluids lost through sweating, it is not recommended for people who are on medically supervised low-sodium diets. In addition, these drinks are often high in calories, in order to replace lost energy from physical activity. Many sports nutritionists believe that water is not sufficient enough to replace the fluids lost during intense exercise, and they recommend consuming sports drinks like Gatorade instead.

Which is better for athletes – Gatorade or drinking water?

When you are planning to do light or moderate exercise, drinking water is usually sufficient. To keep your body sufficiently hydrated, drink water before during and after exercising. However, if you plan to take part in a high-intensity work out or sport session, especially in high temperatures, drinking Gatorade is highly recommended. While some might argue about the addition of carbs into sports drinks, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that it helps replace lost glycogen in the muscles during physical activity. If you plan to do an intense workout that is longer than an hour, the best thing to do is drink a combination of Gatorade and water.

Should you drink Gatorade all the time?

Because Gatorade has more carbohydrates and calories than water, it should not be consumed on a regular basis. Water is a much healthier alternative for everyday fluid consumption. For example, if you are taking a 30-minute walk, drinking water should be sufficient enough, and water should also be your beverage of choice when you are not physically active. It is only necessary to drink Gatorade when you are doing vigorous exercise, such as tennis, basketball, soccer, football and long-distance running.

Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Read 3548 times