By Flora Yeo
August 6, 2012
You know the drill, it is important to have a proper warm up and consume the right energy food before a run. How about the liquids that goes into your body? SAFRA tells you more!
While most people assume that sports drinks contain some kind of ingredient that will boost their stamina and increase their performance, the truth is, they do contain electrolytes, essential for the body, but it is not suitable for all activities.
When we exercise or run, our body sweats in order to maintain proper body heat, and in the process, electrolytes are lost. Even though our kidneys conserve fluid and electrolytes by cutting back on urine production during dehydration, experts say that it is only after an hour of strenuous exercise that electrolytes need to be replenished.
Besides hydrating with water before, during and after a run, drinking isotonic and hypotonic drinks do help to quickly replace the fluids lost during the workout. Most energy drinks also provide vitamins B, amino acids and antioxidants such as vitamin C.
A hypotonic solution contains more water. Isotonic is good for getting the carbohydrate into the body as fast as possible, but hypotonic is best for hydration and sustained energy. It's a good idea to use a hypotonic solution of a carbohydrate drink containing a good balance of electrolytes during a run. If you need an energy boost, then it's best to go for something isotonic.
Here are some types of energy drinks.
Isotonic sports drinks contain similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body. It contains six to eight percent carbohydrates, including glucose, your body’s preferred energy source for exercise.
Most commercially available sports drinks are isotonic as it helps to maintain hydration and energy in a workout. Therefore, athletes prefer to consume isotonic drinks to water as it supplies a boost of carbohydrates that were lost in the body.
Dehydration can severely impair your sporting performance so drinking isotonic drinks that help to rehydrate you more effectively than plain water.
Hypotonic sport drinks contain a lower concentration of salt and sugar than the human body. These drinks are good for rapid fluid replacement during and after exercise, and are usually lower in calories than other types of sports drinks.
These drinks have fewer particles than body fluid and are absorbed faster than plain water, while hypertonic drinks have a higher osmotic pressure and are best taken as recovery drink after a workout.
Hypertonic sport drinks contain a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body. These drinks usually contain larger amounts of carbohydrates, which increases particle concentration.
Hypertonic drinks are best used after long endurance events to replenish glycogen stores, or for “carbohydrate loading” in the days prior to an endurance event. Therefore, hypertonic drinks are not appropriate for use during exercise, only several hours before or after exercise.
Never underestimate the power of water. It hydrates better than any other liquid, both before and during exercise. Water tends to be less expensive and more available than any other drink too.
While some people prefer the taste of water over other drinks, most people find it relatively bland and will stop drinking water before becoming fully hydrated. Water is the best, but it only helps you if you drink it.
During marathons, you are able to spot many athletes consuming small packets of gel-like substance during intervals in the run. These energy gels are popular among long distance runners as they are carbohydrate gels that provide energy for exercise and replenish what were lost in the body.
Energy gels come in small, single-serve plastic packets with a small notch at the top that can be peeled off to reveal an opening through which the gel can be consumed. An intake of energy gel is recommended to be followed with a drink of water to avoid the risk of dehydration.
These drinks should be consumed in moderation and you should know your body well as views on drinks and supplements vary widely according to individual taste and constitution.
Photos By SAFRA