Article written by Libby Grimshaw- BSc Sport, Exercise & Nutrition Student
During exercise, your body loses water and minerals, called electrolytes, through sweat. If you sweat too much, without drinking to replace the water lost, you will become dehydrated. You should aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, and drink more often when exercising .
Dehydration can cause a number of effects on our body and athletic performance [2, 3, 4]:
There have been many sports drink created that are aimed at athletes. They contain water, for hydration, as well as sugar, to provide energy for your muscles. They also contain electrolytes, to replace the electrolytes that your body loses when you sweat. These ingredients are combined at specific levels to help provide the body with exactly what it needs . There are 3 types of sports drinks, based on their levels of each ingredient:
Isotonic and hypertonic drinks are used to provide the body with sugar. Isotonic drinks are most effective when used in short, high intensity workouts, whereas hypertonic drinks are used in longer training sessions and as a recovery drink. Hypotonic drinks are used for quick rehydration, with less of a focus on providing energy through sugar. They should be used for shorter workouts, hydration before a workout or any time you need to drink to rehydrate in a short period of time [6, 7].
Both water and sports drinks have been found to be equally good at hydrating our bodies . However, sports drinks may be a better choice for a training session as they provide us with extra energy to keep on going and electrolytes to replace the ones that we lose through sweat.
There are also other options, such as orange juice and milk, that have been found to be even better at hydrating us. These are good options to incorporate into your daily fluid intake to make sure that you are meeting your daily requirements .
Sports drinks can be expensive, but you can make your own at home using just fruit squash, water and salt.
To make a hypotonic sports drink, combine:
To make an isotonic sports drink, combine:
 NOAKES, T. D. (2007). Does dehydration impair exercise performance?. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(8), 1209-1217. Accessed at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6078653_Does_Dehydration_Impair_Exercise_Performance
 Maughan, R. J., & Murray, R. (Eds.). (2000). Sports drinks: basic science and practical aspects. CRC Press.
 Maughan, R. J., Watson, P., Cordery, P. A., Walsh, N. P., Oliver, S. J., Dolci, A., ... & Galloway, S. D. (2016). A randomized trial to assess the potential of different beverages to affect hydration status: development of a beverage hydration index. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 103(3), 717-723.
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Just as your youth athlete will need to fuel well to stay healthy, the same goes for parents too. Ensuring you eat a healthy and balanced diet will help to keep your energy levels high, so you’re better equipped to handle the stress and challenges that life throws at you.