Isotonic drinks are the de facto post-workout beverage. But what do they really do for those of us who work out? And is the trade off between getting some extra hydration in exchange for taking in extra calories worth it?
We spoke to Lillian Wong, Senior Marketing Manager of leading sports and energy drinks brand Lucozade, to find out whether isotonic hydration is truly necessary.
Lillian said that these drinks are necessary, even during short-term exercise regimes, especially if the workout was intense, because there is a loss of water and electrolytes.
She explained that just a 2% reduction in body weight, induced by sweating during exercise, is indicative of dehydration and has been shown to negatively impact exercise performance.
“Performance suffers when fatigue sets in, notwithstanding the type of sports that is being carried out.”
She added that consuming a sports drink that has an effective combination of electrolytes and carbohydrates, can deliver carbohydrates and fluid simultaneously to provide a readily available source of energy and hydration.
But can’t we just drink regular water?
“There comes to a point when water is not enough to replenish the electrolytes and fluid lost during a sports activity,” said Lillian.
This is where sports drinks like Lucozade Sport helps, Lillian explained.
“The drink enhances hydration and helps maintain performance during prolonged (this means, more than 60 minutes) endurance exercise. It also helps in transporting fluid and carbohydrate into the blood stream tackling two major causes of fatigue: dehydration and a reduction in the body’s carbohydrate stores.”
More tips to prevent dehydration
Our body temperature increases during physical activities, and our body perspire to cool the body down. Losing too much water through perspiration can lead to dehydration, and in extreme cases of dehydration, the body can shut down and we can lose consciousness. We already learnt that consuming sports drinks can help replenish water loss; here are more tips that will help prevent dehydration:
- Watch for dehydration symptoms. The most common symptoms of dehydration are nausea, light-headedness, and extremely fast heart rate. We know our body best, so stop working out the moment you feel that something isn’t right. Rest, and take a drink slowly.
- Drink up before physical activities. Prime your body by drinking water before you start any sporting activities. Observe the colour of your urine: the darker it is, the less hydrated you are, and this means you should drink more water.
- Take regular water breaks. Instead of only drinking after your workout is over, take a break to drink water every 30 minutes or so. You can consider adding a bit of salt into your water to help replace sodium loss.
Lucozade Sport is available at all Fairprice and Cheers outlets islandwide and retails at SGD1.40 per 500ml bottle.