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Drinks Designed for Sport

Sport drinks continue to be high in demand as more and more people become involved in sports participation. Although obesity is very prevalent throughout American society, sports are still a popular pastime of millions of people, especially children and young adults who are involved in community and school-sponsored sports teams. Competition is fierce in these sports at all levels, making it essential that everyone perform at his or her optimal level. Consumer-focused companies are capitalizing on this interest in sports performance by continually developing new products and improving old ones that are designed to help athletes recover faster, play and practice harder, and simply perform better overall. Among these popular products are energy bars and gels, fitness water, and sports drinks.

Importance of Sports Drinks

Some people may wonder why sport drinks are important, thinking that water is just as effective--and usually cheaper--than some special sports drink. However, all the fuss over sport drinks is not just unwarranted hype. Sports drinks actually do have a real function in helping athletes perform and recover, and serious athletes can really benefit from what sports drinks can provide. However, it is important that consumers and athletes understand what a sports drink is designed to do so that they make sure that the sports drink they are consuming is effective and healthful.

The primary justification for consuming sport drinks is that they contain essential elements that athletes need to perform at a high level. When athletes practice or play hard, especially in hot temperatures, sweating is inevitable. The fluid loss that occurs with the sweating also results in the loss of electrolytes, carbohydrates, and sodium. Although water is excellent for replenishing lost fluid, it does nothing to restore the body's supply of electrolytes and carbohydrates, making it harder for the athlete to recover and putting greater strain on the athlete's body and muscles.

Although it can be argued that these electrolytes and carbohydrates can be consumed through food or other products, timing is a factor in replenishing these lost substances. For optimal recovery and performance, the body needs to restore lost electrolytes and carbohydrates very soon after completing the athletic activity. For extended sports, such as marathon running, triathlons, or back-to-games, the body can even need to replenish electrolyte stores while the athlete is still competing. Because it is often difficult to eat anything immediately after or during athletic participation, sports drinks can solve this problem by being a quick and easy way to prevent dehydration and muscle fatigue.

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