For general types of workouts that last less than an hour, water remains the best sports drink. Water is the nutrient that your body first needs to replenish its reserves during and after such classes. Glucose-electrolyte solutions in the form of beverages (also known as sports drinks) can be present in the diet of an athlete mainly during high-intensity classes accompanied by regular respites, or during a workout lasting more than 45 minutes. They are especially useful for athletes whose sport is associated with increased endurance. These foods are a mixture of water, carbohydrates and electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals dissolved in water that form a “salty soup” around and inside cells. They exchange electrical charges that allow them to react with other minerals, transmit nerve impulses, cause muscles to contract or relax, and regulate the balance of fluid inside and outside the cells. During heavy training or sports competitions lasting 45 minutes or longer, the body loses electrolytes with sweat.
The advantage of glucose-electrolyte drinks over water is probably in their aroma. Most people don’t drink a lot of water because they don’t like the taste of it. The soldiers who participated in the experiment, which was conducted by the US Army Institute for Environmental Medicine Research, were asked to drink a choice of simple chlorine-containing water, flavored water or glucose-electrolyte sports drinks with lemon-lime flavor. Most of the soldiers preferred glucose-electrolyte drinks or flavored water. If you do not need an additional amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes, one of the ways to supply the body with water and at the same time preserve its aroma is to dilute your glucose — electrolyte solution or use one of the new types of flavored water for fitness. But do not forget that if you do this, you will not achieve an improvement in the quality of work in an hour of classes.
If you drink a lot of plain water and you really like it, you will not lose at all if you use a glucose-electrolyte solution, unless you work out for an hour or more. But if you don’t like water or avoid it during classes, try filtered or bottled water, each of which has its own taste. Or take a glucose-electrolyte solution containing less than 8% carbohydrates and a small amount of sodium. Another way to support your body is to add a powdered sports drink to the water, although these mixtures sometimes do not taste very pleasant. At least, if the glucose-electrolyte solution makes you drink more, you can assume that it has fulfilled its function.