What’s better for dehydration: Water vs Sports drinks

Most runners know that in order to maintain high level performance, you have to give your body time to heal and recharge. An efficient, well-balanced training program always includes time for recovery and adequate hydration.

However, in today’s hustle culture, some people (including myself) skip rest and recovery between workouts or feel guilty for taking the time off. It’s important to emphasize that even the strongest of runners are at risk of injury and deterioration if they continuously train without rest, or re-hydrate inadequately.

I know I have been affected by insufficiently re-hydrating in marathons, and endurance events, like the time I by mistakenly drank water from the Dusi river during the 3 day paddling race, but that’s a story for another time. :)

Water makes up about 60% of your body-weight and is the most important chemical in your body. It’s involved in everything, from regulating your internal temperature to protecting sensitive tissues and cushioning joints. Every single cell, tissue, and organ depends on proper hydration to function optimally.

Full disclosure: The amount of water needed to stay hydrated will vary from person to person. The old rule of thumb of drinking eight glasses of water a day is just that: old. Some experts say that you need 100ml of water per pound of body weight. Others say less is sufficient. Furthermore, climate, clothing, amount of perspiration, and the specific type of training you’re doing all play a role.

Most importantly, you lose water through sweat and urine, which make them the perfect measurement tools for assessing your hydration levels.

The color of your urine tells you a lot about your health, including how hydrated you are. The lighter-yellow it is, the more hydrated you are. If your urine begins to turn dark yellow or honey colored, it’s time to drink some water!

How much water you need each day boils down to your individual needs and activity levels. However, there are a few signs you should grab a glass (or 2!) of water:

  • Thirst

  • Dry mouth

  • Early-onset fatigue

  • Increased perception of effort

  • Decreased exercise capacity

  • Increased body temperature

  • Faster breathing and heart rate

  • Dizziness

So enough about knowing how hydrated you are. In terms of rehydrating, and replenishing electrolytes.. what should you be drinking? Is water enough to hydrate your body or are sports drinks like Energade more beneficial? Let’s dive into how hydration works and see for yourself when you should be drinking water and when you should drink sports drinks.

Many people prefer drinking sports drinks during and after exercise as opposed to water because of the taste and added electrolytes. However, many sports drinks have additional ingredients and added sugars—making them a less appealing choice for those trying sweat off the calories. But is that enough reason to forget about them altogether?

Here are some of the additional ingredients in sports drinks, most of which are highly beneficial in the recovery process:

  • Electrolytes: Minerals, like potassium, sodium, and magnesium, have an electric charge and help maintain your body’s ionic balance. You lose electrolytes when you sweat and sports drinks claim to help replace what’s lost during exercise.

  • Carbohydrates: Most of the carbohydrates in sports drinks come from sugars. Carbs are one of your body’s energy sources and sports drinks are designed to re-fuel you after a hard workout.

  • Amino acids: These are the building blocks of protein, and it’s believed that when we drink them after a tough workout, we help our bodies recover faster and better.

As you can see, some of the additional ingredients in sports drinks offer hydration benefits that water on its own cannot. In my opinion. I believe it’s as simple as this, if you’ve done a workout harder than 45 minutes long, have sweated like a beast on steroids, or are feeling like you need that extra boost to make it through the day.. Grab an Energade. If you’ve done a light workout, stick to water.

Most importantly, never let it get to a point where you feel like you NEED to hydrate, because by that time, it’s too late. If you continuously sip on your bottle of water through the day, and some Energade after vigorous exercise, you’ll be flying !!

Whether you choose water or Energade at the end of the day, do what works for you and ensure you stay happy and hydrated!

Check out the Energade website for more information on when to hydrate with a. sports drink, and whne not to.

Happy hydrating!

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