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Water or Sports Drink?

Drinks that contain salt and sugar are better than just plain water during exercise, unless you are also eating foods. A study from the Medical College of Georgia shows that tennis players have lower body temperatures when they drink fluid with electrolytes and sugar, rather than just plain water (British Journal of Sports Medicine, May 2006). Higher body temperatures during exercise slow you down and tire you earlier.

More than 80 percent of the energy that supplies your muscles is lost as heat. Less than 20 percent drives your muscles. So during exercise, your heart has to cool your body by pumping hot blood from your muscles to your skin, as well as pumping oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. If you heart has difficulty serving both functions, it cannot pump enough hot blood from muscles and your temperature rises.

You do not have to take sports drinks to protect yourself from high body temperature. During exercise, you need energy, salt and water and your body doesn't care how it gets these nutrients. Eating any salted food with water or any beverage you like will supply your body as efficiently as sports drinks.

Checked 9/29/08

May 10th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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