There are many different sports drinks on the market today. Many of them claim to be designed for optimal athletic performance, but how do you know that the drink you are choosing will give you the maximum benefits possible. First of all, understanding the basic makeup of sports drinks in general is important because by learning what the makeup is, you are able to read the ingredient labels and make a more informed decision about which products meet your needs best.

Most sports drinks are largely made up of water. They also include flavoring, coloring and electrolytes. Athletes who are sweating heavily while running or playing a game such as basketball will lose electrolytes. If their electrolyte levels get low enough, there can be cardiovascular complications. The theory of drinking sports drinks is that they replenish these electrolytes before they can drop to dangerously low levels.

There is a debate going on as to whether it is necessary to drink sports drinks or whether water or other liquids will work equally well. The theory is that most athletes do not lose enough electrolytes to cause health problems. The exception to this is marathon runners or people who are working extremely hard and who are perspiring extremely heavily. Many scientists and medical experts believe that the average athlete may not require the electrolytes found in sports drinks and that it is also possible to get the same benefit from drinking water or even chocolate milk.

You should check out a few things when looking at the labels on sports drinks. Have a look at how many calories a particular drink may have. Also, you should make sure that there is not a massive amount of sugar in the drinks as well. If you are concerned about maintaining a specific weight, extra calories and sugar may cause problems for you. Be aware!

There are many low calorie drinks on the market today that can meet your electrolyte needs without weighing you down. You should think about avoiding drinks which contain caffeine as well. Although caffeine can give a short term energy boost to players it can cause them to crash which is not what you want if your team is playing in a game that extends into overtime.

There are also sports drinks which claim to have vitamins added to them. Health or vitamin water is becoming very popular and much more commonly known than they have been in the past. If you are interested in supplying yourself with, you may want to consider whether sports drinks or vitamin drinks are more important to your health.

A good coach takes nutrition and hydration into account. Players who are well fed and who are properly hydrated have more endurance on the court, something which just may give them an edge over the opposing team. By being careful of which sports drinks you choose you can ensure that you feel good and have the energy, strength and nutrition you need to get out and win the game.

Picture credit: Clean Wal-MartCreative Commons Attribution

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