Soft Drinks

Effects of Sports Drinks on Exercise Performance

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Sports drinks rehydrate your body and replenish electrolytes, carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, and other nutrients lost from sweating. Professional athletes and people who perform intense workouts like running often rely on these drinks. They are designed for consumption before, during and after a workout. The effects of sports drinks on exercise performance consist of making sure you can maintain your workout capability.

To understand how sports drinks affect exercise performance, you need to know the function of electrolytes and glucose. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that electrolytes, minerals in the body affect your water levels, pH balance, muscle action and other internal processes. When you sweat, electrolyte imbalances occur. Electrolyte imbalances affect sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and other nutrients.

Carbohydrates, stored as glucose in the liver and muscles, are the body's primary energy stores. When you exercise, you expend about three to four grams of carbohydrates a minute. Exercising more than two hours without proper hydration reduces your performance capacity. Lack of glucose production causes some athletes to experience muscle cramps. Athletes who can't eat before exercising consume sports drinks to fill their carbohydrate needs.

Dehydration can be dangerous if you are working out for a long time, especially in the outdoors. The physiological effects of dehydration worsen the longer you workout without replacing fluids. These effects include impaired performance, muscular decline, heat exhaustion, hallucinations, the collapse of your circulatory system, and in worse cases, heat stroke. Drinking the right kind of sports drink relieves dehydration.

There are three types of sports drinks-isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic. Each of these drinks serves different purposes:

Isotonic sports drinks contain similar proportions of salt and sugar found in your body. These sports drinks provide carbohydrates and replaces fluids lost from sweating. Because the body prefers to use glucose as its energy source, isotonic drinks work well with athletes who participate in team sports like football or do middle- or long-distance running. These drinks have a six to eight percent concentration of carbohydrates. Isotonic sports drinks include High Five, Lucozade Sport and Boots Isotonic. These drinks are good energy sources during an intense workout.

Hypertonic sports drinks have more sugar and salt than that found in your body. The carbohydrate content is usually higher than eight percent and causes water to move from the bloodstream and into the stomach. The process causes you to become dehydrated. These kinds of drinks are marketed only toward athletes and not advisable for general exercisers. Hypertonic drinks consumed during work outs have to be consumed with isotonic sports drinks to adequately rehydrate the body.

Hypotonic sports drinks contain lower concentrations of sugar and salt than that found in the body. These drinks absorb quicker in the bloodstream than other kinds of sports drinks. Athletes who need the fluids without carbohydrates drink this kind of sports drinks. These athletes include jockeys and gymnasts, people who exert short bursts of energy.

Sports drinks improve exercise performance in athletes because they prevent conditions that lead to dehydration. Dehydration causes mild conditions that negatively affect performance, or this condition leads to permanent damage or even death. Athletes, though, must pick the right sports drinks because they are not all created equal. Base your sports drink choice on the type of workout you are performing and length of your routine.


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