My name is Beth Mack. My parents are Mark and Judy of Ohio. Whoever reads this, make an attempt to get this to them. Today marks the 12th day of the Charlotte heatwave and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. I have been putting in a lot of effort to stay cool, but my boss insists that I come to work and make the treacherous trek from the parking deck to my office while wearing my business casual clothes and risk dehydration. Sometimes I feel like I am just going to shrivel up during this journey. I have been sweating a lot and have an insatiable thirst. I can’t stop thinking about how good a sports drink or water would be. But then my inner health nut comes out and I think to myself, “Should I be drinking a sports drink?" I am not sure if I should, but I do know that all I want is to be this dog...
Ok so maybe I am being a tad dramatic, but it at least makes for an entertaining intro right?!? Anyways, I wanted to talk about another one of my pet peeves today, which is sports drinks.
History of sports drinks
Before I jumped on my sarcastic soap box, I wanted to give you all a little history lesson to help me get my point across. I am not sure about the history of other sports drinks, but I do know that Gatorade was in fact developed at the University of Florida for the athletes on their football team to help with hydration, energy, and to help with recovery post workout. Not really sure about the exact story behind it, but my guess would be something along the lines of this...
What’s in sports drinks?
Well, mostly water but also sugar and electrolytes. The sugars help replenish your energy stores that you use when you exercise. Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, etc) help your body function normally and are present in sweat. Unfortunately, when you sweat a lot you lose electrolytes. If you are curious about this whole sweat thing, check out Gatorade’s website for more info.
Should I drink a sports drink?
Sports drinks are designed for athletes that have you have completed a workout of moderate to vigorous activity for 60 minutes or longer. Now the terms moderate to strenuous exercise tend to trip people up a bit as well. Prancercise...
...does not count as moderate to vigorous exercise. Think more along the lines of running, cycling, playing soccer or football or basketball, hiking, etc.
PSA: Softball and baseball do not count either
Well what about coconut water?
Luckily for you, I have already talked about coconut water in a previous blog. For those of you who do not feel like clicking on that link, here are the cliff notes:
- If you actually need a sports drink, coconut water is a good alternative
- Lower in sodium, which could be an issue if you happen to be a marathoner or ironman person
Breaking it down
Sports drinks are designed for people who are doing moderate to vigorous exercise for 60 minutes or more. The only other time there is some benefit to consuming them is when you have had some serious and extenuating GI distress or if you have been outside for an extended period of time doing some serious sweating. By drinking sports unwarrantedly, you may as well just be drinking a soda; it isn’t going to help you any. In most cases, plain old water will do just fine. Should you be drinking a sports drink just because there is a torturous heat wave outside? No. Should I have to work in this torturous heat wave? No...
Keep it Fresh,
Keep it Green,