Both children and adults often love reaching for sports drinks and energy drinks when they finish a workout or need a pick-me-up. However, are they really the best choice for your child? In this blog, we are exploring the pros and cons of sports drinks for youth.
The Benefits of Sports Drinks
- Replacing Lost Fluids: Sports drinks can help to replenish lost fluids in the body after exercise, which is critical. If your child doesn’t like drinking plain water, sports drinks can help them to get the fluids they need while enjoying the taste. In general, teens and adults need 1.5-4 cups of liquid for every hour of exercise depending on the temperature outside, how much they are sweating and the intensity of the exercise.
- Balancing Electrolytes: The main benefit of sports drinks over plain water is that they contain electrolytes. Whenever you sweat during exercise, you are getting rid of numerous electrolytes that keep your body balanced, including potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and chlorine. When you sweat excessively during a workout, your electrolytes can become imbalanced and lead to nausea, dizziness, cramping and confusion. If your child exercises for longer than an hour, a sports drink could be the best choice.
The Drawbacks of Sports Drinks
- Sugar and Calories: Depending on what sports drink you choose, the sugar and calorie content can be quite high. In some brands of drinks, the sugars make up only 4-9% of the drink but 80-90% of the caloric content. It’s important to be aware of the sugar content, because elevated sugar levels can hamper your body’s ability to absorb the sugar. If the sports drink you enjoy has a higher sugar content, diluting it with water is a good alternative.
- Water Is Usually Better: Unless your child is engaging in prolonged periods of high-intensity exercise, water is almost always better. If your child doesn’t like the taste of water, experiment with adding natural flavorings like lemon or lime or drinks like coconut water, chocolate milk, or other fruit juices.
Do you use sports drinks after a workout?
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