Sports Drinks Are An Important Part of Your Practice Routine

By Amy Goodson
Texas Health Resources

Sports drinks are designed to provide the body with carbohydrate during a workout (for energy) as well as replace the electrolytes (sodium and potassium) that are being sweated out.

As an athlete, your goal is to choose a sport drink that is 6-8 percent carbohydrate during exercise. This carbohydrate amount is optimal for athletic performance/training and gastric emptying. Drinks below six percent and above eight percent carbohydrate do not provide beneficial levels of carbohydrate during exercise and can cause stomach cramping and/or a decrease in energy levels.

Sports Drink Purpose

  • Provide carbohydrate during exercise for energy and maintenance of blood sugar levels.
  • Provide electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) to aid in hydration.
  • Provide fluid to prevent or minimize dehydration.

When should sports drinks be used?

  • Exercise lasting longer than one hour
  • Exercise in extremely hot and humid conditions
  • Post-exercise as a recovery fluid providing carbohydrate and replenishing fluid lost
  • NOT to be used as hydration all day during school and work (drink water when not exercising)

Have a question? Ask at amygoodson@texashealth.org

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