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Are Sports Drinks Good For You?

Mar 15, 2008
Sportsmen and women are part of the health industry and very aware of the body's' need to stay in top condition for optimum performance. This includes understanding the physiology of the body, how it works, what it needs to be healthy, why it goes wrong and how to heal it.

The physical requirements for performance enhancement are complex, with the most important being the steady intake of fluid. As coaches, managers, trainers and the sportspeople, themselves understand this, fluid in one form or another tends to be very accessible, ensuring hydration during and after strenuous exercise.

Serious sportspeople often train very hard and dehydration can set in very quickly. This can have a detrimental effect on their bodies and consequently their performance. Replenishing lost fluids is imperative as nutrients are transported around the body, joints are lubricated and body temperature is stabilised.

Fluid can be provided by water coolers, water fountains, bottled or tap water. However, other drinks often available for purchase are sports drinks, so called because they profess to enhance energy and replace fluid and salts lost through strenuous exertion. These can take the form of isotonic drinks containing salt, glucose and water, electrolyte, or hypotonic drinks either in fluid form or in sachets, all of which are supposed to replace lost essential body minerals and water.

The drawback with these is that most of them contain unnecessarily high levels of sugar, artificial colourings and flavourings, not to mention the inclusion of the sweetener, aspartame. The safety of using a chemical such as aspartame to sweeten sports drinks, diet drinks, sweeteners for hot drinks etc is under much discussion.

Aspartame, known commonly as NutraSweet, was thought to be revolutionary to dieters in the 1980's but over the years, after much research, is thought to induce problems of excess weight and cause various illnesses including dizziness, headaches, shortness of breathe. Other more serious health issues surrounding the use of aspartame are possible brain damage, birth defects, hyperactivity, aggression and sweet cravings.

Therefore, the idea of using such drinks containing this chemical in a place known for inviting people to improve their health seems ironic. The installation of water coolers in many gyms and sports centres overcomes this and provides an instant thirst solution. Other provisions are the sale of water in bottles, some with added electrolytes to replace salts lost through exercise and juices, which are healthier.

There are sports drinks on the market, which are excellent for replenishing fluids, and salts that do not contain artificial chemicals and sportsmen and women should be at the forefront of promoting the use of healthy drinks. Otherwise, cool, fresh water from bottles, tap or water coolers to prevent dehydration during sport is as effective' and synonymous with health and hydration.
About the Author
Anna Stenning prefers to drink water from water coolers and fountains, after working out at the gym. For more on water filters and colling devices visit http://www.pure-eau.co.uk/
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