The fancy term for it is “Hydration Regimen” but we’ll just call it “drinking fluids.” But no matter what you call it, you need to do it regularly. And while water is probably the best thing to drink, all the liquids, fruit, veggies and other foods that you consume in a day help to keep you hydrated. However, when it comes to sports drinks like Accelerade and Gatorade, less is better.
The cornerstone of your Hydration Regimen, I mean habit of drinking fluids, should be water. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have your morning cup – or two – of coffee or that you can’t have a soda, juice or ice tea at some point during the day; you should be free to enjoy all foods and beverages. That being said, you will be better off in the long run if you consistently drink water throughout the day.
Sports drinks are designed to replace fluids and essential minerals that are lost as a result of exercise. For the person who consistently drinks water sports drinks are necessary only in the most extreme conditions or after intense training sessions or competition. Sports drinks should not be used throughout the day to get/stay hydrated for the simple reason that they contain a ton of calories, “empty calories” in nutritional parlance. These calories don’t offer anything of real nutritional value to you during the day, and if anything can contribute to weight gain by adding hundreds and hundreds of extra calories to your daily intake.
There is no clear consensus on exactly how much water a person should get during the day, and the old rule that people need to drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day isn’t really accurate. However, when it comes to people who exercise, especially during extreme conditions there is no doubt that water intake guidelines need to be followed. The fluid guidelines for people who are going to exercise is as follows; 14-22 ounces before activity, 6-12 ounces every 15 minutes during activity and 16-24 ounces after activity for every pound lost.
For the person who doesn’t consume enough fluids regularly, these guidelines are insufficient to make up a deficit that’s been built up over time. Sports drinks will be more effective if they are used in conjunction with sufficient water intake. Following the above guidelines, a 20-ounce sport drink to post-exercise fluid consumption – along with an orange – can be more effective than just water and more efficient than drinking more than 20-ounces of a sport drink. The inclusion of the sports drink and the orange address the need for people to have a recovery meal that helps to replenish the body’s glucose and glycogen stores, and is a practice the all active folk should engage in.
Remember that sports drinks are supplements and are not meant to – and should not – replace water in your daily routine. You will get the most out of the sports drinks and water if you use sports drinks as they truly are intended.