Synthesize This: Sports drinks enhances physical performance

Column Lindsey Case, a Kinesiology student

There have been extensive studies on sports drinks and how they affect performance.

Scientific evidence suggests that the ingredients in sports drinks can have a positive correlation to physical performance when used correctly.

Sports drinks were created in order to help athletes replenish fluids such as water as well as electrolytes and energy. Hydration is necessary to reach optimal performance.

The longer and more intensely people exercise, the more important it is to stay hydrated.

If fluids lost are not replenished, the heart will have a harder time circulating blood. Decreases in blood circulation can cause dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

For optimal results from sports drinks, an individual needs to make sure they are drinking them at the right time. It is important to consume fluids before, during and after exercise.

Drinking at least two cups of water two hours before all exercise will help people stay hydrated.

During moderate exercise, drinking at least four to six ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes will help keep the muscles hydrated.

For intense exercise, it is most effective to drink 20 ounces of a sports drink for every hour of exercise.

After about an hour of intense exercise, an individual needs to increase their electrolytes and fluids, but these needs depend on weight, sex, temperature, and how much they sweat.

During intensive exercise the body’s preferred source of fuel is carbohydrates because of the fatiguing of muscles. Most sports drinks are designed to deliver carbohydrates and electrolytes in a way that will maximize absorption of energy for the fatigued muscles.

What is in sports drinks that can help the body attain more fluid and electrolytes?

Primary ingredients include glucose, sucrose, fructose, or high fructose corn syrup.

There are some drinks that can have a lot of sugar, which most people think is a bad thing, but for high intensity exercise it’s not. However, too much sugar can affect weight loss goals.

If someone doesn’t factor the calories from sports drinks into their diet, weight gain could occur. To avoid this, one needs to drink the right sports drink for the activity.

High-sugared sports drinks aren’t made to be used for a short or less intense workout.