Many sports drinks are available that replace lost water and electrolytes during running. Running causes sweating and sweating helps the body to stay cool. Sweat mainly contains water and some minerals. So, when the body sweats, it loses water and minerals. Drinking water replaces the water lost in sweating. The drinks meant specifically for athletes help to recharge the body's muscles with glycogen. This gives the body more endurance for long runs and helps to recover better after workouts.
These drinks have some advantages as opposed to consuming plain water.
If you fail to replace the fluids lost by your body, your muscles won't be able to perform very well. Start fueling yourself with this drink 30 to 45 minutes in the run. If you wait until you feel thirsty, it is too late.
Lot of sports drinks are available. Choosing a drink that works best for you becomes a trial and error exercise. This selection is again to be done during the training runs. Many drinks are available in small sample packages so that you try them out before buying a bigger box.
The common ones are Accelerade, Gatorade, Cytomax etc. Most of these drinks contain carbohydrates, sodium and potassium.
The concentration and type of carbohydrates in these drinks is important. Some of these drinks contain mainly fructose that causes intestinal distress.
The drinks for sports are available in powder form to be mixed with water. The concentration of the powder mixed with water may vary for different individuals. Start with the suggested amount of powder in the instructions and if it is too concentrated dilute it for your next training run.
Sports drinks perform a dual function - they help in hydration as well as provide carbohydrates.
Running causes sweat and consequentially a loss of salt or sodium in the body. Drinking excessive amount of plain water dilutes the sodium content in the blood and causes low blood sodium. People who eat less salt or are on a low-sodium diet may also experience this condition.
Hence, sports drinks with low amount of sodium in them are better for replenishing the salt lost through sweat. Another way of counteracting the loss of sodium is eating foods containing salt during exercise.
Low blood sodium can cause nausea, cramping, swelling of the fingers and ankles, headaches, seizures and even coma.
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