Water Versus Sports Drinks: What Young Athletes and Fitness Lovers Should Drink

Water Versus Sports Drinks: What Young Athletes and Fitness Lovers Should Drink

Highlights
  • Sports drinks seem to have become a norm in the fitness world
  • Energy drinks can elevate blood pressure and cause cardiac problems
  • Having kids chug sports drinks loaded with extra sugar is harmful
Sports drinks seem to have become a norm in the fitness world. With so many varieties and flavours available, each brand claims that they are just want sportsperson and athletes require to stay at the top of the game. They contain essential nutrients which work towards rejuvenating the body and boosting energy. However, a recent study done by Pennsylvania State University in the US states that consuming sports drink may not be as good as drinking water for young athletes. According to the researchers, energy beverages can elevate blood pressure and cause cardiac problems in children and teenagers. Energy drinks maybe praised by the marketing world, making people consider it as an essential beverage during sports, but it shouldn't be consumed without weighing the odds. Many people associate playing sports with having sports drinks as it is what they see professionals do. However, most recreational athletes do not play at an intensity or for a duration that would require their hydration to come with extra sugar and salt.

"Sports drinks can replenish some of what you lost during exercise, but you really need to be exercising for more than 45 minutes to an hour before you would consider that," said Matthew Silvis, from Pennsylvania State University in the US. "Many of our kids are not doing enough to warrant it," said Silvis.
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Ill Effects of Sports Drinks

With increasing rates of childhood obesity, having kids chug sports drinks loaded with extra sugar as they exercise is not recommended, said researchers. Sugar is the devil, and its hidden content in so many common food stuffs seems to be causing various health problems for kids and adults alike.

"Kids and adolescents really should not be using these drinks. Water is the best method of hydration," said Katie Gloyer from Penn State. Young people who sip on sports drinks as a regular drink without physical activity also run the risk of weight gain and tooth decay from the added sugar. Then there are energy drinks, which some professional athletes use to boost performance and gain a competitive edge by providing them with caffeine and other stimulants to increase focus and prolong their attention span.

However, Gloyer does not even recommend those to adults and professional athletes. For children and adolescents, energy drinks can be downright dangerous. The beverages, which are not regulated, can contain several servings of harmful products in one container and easily exceed the amount of caffeine and other stimulants that are considered to be safe. That can elevate blood pressure and cause cardiac problems such as palpitations and arrhythmias, not to mention giving the user headaches, an upset stomach, and a general jittery or nervous feeling.
 

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Benefits of Water

It is not said without reason that water is the most important liquid for our body. It has various miraculous properties that can benefit our system. Silvis said the focus really should be on water and making sure kids are properly hydrated during exercise. "If they are playing 30- or 45-minute halves, they should have a water break and maybe add fresh orange slices or a granola bar to add a bit of sugar and/or protein at an appropriate level," he suggested.

For post-workout recovery, plain old chocolate milk works just as well - if not better - than the fancy recovery drinks now on the market. "Chocolate milk has the perfect combination of fat, proteins and carbohydrates that you want to get back into your system," said Silvis.

Of course, if the goal of exercise is weight loss, water still reigns as king, he said. "Otherwise you can end up drinking more calories than you burnt while exercising," he concluded.

Inputs from PTI



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