Chancellor's Check-Up: Sports Drinks - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/13/04

Chancellor's Check-Up: Sports Drinks

We all know the health benefits of drinking water. It quenches our thirst and helps keep the body hydrated, but there are other alternatives to water that may be just as beneficial.

There are many beverages on the market today that claim to enhance performance during exercise. Darla Scarrow in the School of Nursing at Texas Tech Medical Center explains why sports drinks can be a safe alternative to water.

"They hydrate the same, but because of electrolytes that are in the sports beverages, you're going to get chemicals in the body that are replaced that are more important," explains Darla Scarrow, R.N.

Although water is just as effective for people who work out for relatively short periods at a time, some may prefer the taste of flavored sports drink to water.

"For the average lay-person who's exercising three to four times a week for about an hour at a time, water is fine," she says.

The bottom line is hydration is very important before, during, and after exercising. If you begin to feel thirsty, then you are already getting dehydrated and it becomes more difficult to replenish the body.

"If you're exercising for less than two hours, then water is fine. Just make sure you hydrate with water prior to exercise and then throughout, and even after you finish exercising," she adds.

Some research studies have shown that sports drinks can lengthen the amount of time that a person is able to work out and even improve performance.

So, if competing and improving physical performance is the goal of your exercise, then sports drinks may just give you the edge.

There are many products on the market that may seem like they have the same benefits as sports drinks, but many so-called energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine, which can be harmful. So be careful and read labels when buying these products to make sure you are getting what you need.

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