Whether you’re exercising outdoors, working in the yard, or lying out by the pool this summer, it’s important to replace lost fluids and stay hydrated.
The amount of fluid that needs to be replaced depends on the individual, and the degree of activity. But there’s some confusion and outright myths about what to drink, how much to drink, and when. We’ve done the research for you and compiled these tips from the experts:
What to drink:
- For most people doing light to moderate activity outdoors, plain water is best to replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration.
- Sports drinks are generally preferred over water only when exercising at a high intensity, for a long duration of time and/or in high temperatures. Sport drinks contain sodium that enables the body to retain fluid that is lost through sweat. They also provide calories to help replace energy lost during exercise. Drinking plain water throughout the day is still encouraged in addition to sports drinks during long periods of intense exercise.
- The National Athletic Training Association (NATA) recommends that sports drinks should be below eight percent in carbohydrate content. Any more than this will impede the rate of fluid emptying from the stomach and absorbed by the intestine. This is why high sugar drinks such as soda or juice are not the best liquids to replace lost fluids.
- Since sports drinks are intended for intense exercise, they are high in carbohydrates (mostly sugars) which can lead to weight gain if consumed for light or moderate physical activity.
- Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, which actually promote fluid loss.
How much and when to drink fluids: More...