Young athletes drink sports beverages on fields and courts across America. Athletes can replenish minerals lost when they sweat and rehydrate themselves. When is a sports drink the right choice?
A vast majority of non athletes buy and consume Gatorade Thirst Quencher. If you’re not an athlete, sports drinks have too much sugar and it’s unhealthy for you. People exercising for less than 60 minutes or not exercising at all don’t need sports drinks. Gatorade uses sugar while other sports drinks may use high fructose corn syrup.
Young athletes should understand that they need to hydrate themselves based on the activity, temperature, and how much they sweat. According to Dr. Brian M. Babka, MD, “For most activities less than 60 minutes, water is a sufficient fluid replacement. When you’re active for more than an hour, replacing electrolytes becomes more important.” Sports drinks can quickly replace fluids and electrolytes for athletes during activity.
Being an athlete, you should recognize the signs when your body needs more than simply water. White or salty stains on skin is a sign of sodium loss, which can cause muscle cramping during or after long endurance training. You may also be low on potassium and not replacing it effectively enough. Fatigue or rapid heartbeat can be signs of dehydration, meaning you probably need electrolytes. Fluid loss can cause headaches and dizziness, so it’s best to remember drinking before and during exercise.
According to W. Larry Kenney, Penn State professor of physiology, “We tested the effect of sports drinks on youth basketball players and found that the carbohydrate-containing beverage improved sprinting and delayed fatigue.” A bottle of a sports drink may be a better choice for endurance athletes. You can look for fluids in sports drinks, such as Gatorade, Powerade, and All Sport.
Young athletes should drink fluids two to three hours before a game or practice. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking four to eight ounces of water every fifteen to twenty minutes of exercise. You can drink sports drinks during physical activity after an hour. Athletes should drink about 20 ounces of fluid within 20 minutes after a practice or game.
Ultimately, sports drinks are not all the same and are designed for endurance athletes. Young athletes need to remember to rehydrate based on athlete needs, intensity and duration of sport.