If you're a serious athlete, or likely to participate in marathons, you'll be wondering about the merits of sports drinks vs water for replenishing the body during strenuous exercise.
So just what are the advantages of expensive sports drinks vs water? What nutrients do you get in sports drinks that don't come with water - and what difference will they make anyway? Can the answer to the debate about sports drinks vs. water come up with different answers depending on the activity?
The truth is, if you are going to be exercising for an hour or less, a bottle of Evian will do you just fine. If you plan on exercising for an hour or less you body will become dehydrated through sweating, and you can replenish this by drinking regular old H2O.
However, if you are entering a marathon, or participating in an event which is likely to see you engaged in strenuous physical activity for over an hour, you're better off buying a performance enhancing beverage. This is because if you exercise for longer than an hour, your body will use up your carbohydrate stores and lose salt as well.
Performance enhancing beverages contain carbohydrates, usually in the form of glucose, and electrolytes, which replenishes salt lost through sweat, meaning that you'll be able to continue exercising for longer without experiencing what's known as 'hitting the wall'. Also, because Performance enhancing beverages contain carbs and electrolytes, which are absorbed quickly into the body, it means that your body will generally absorb the H20 at a faster pace too, keeping you better hydrated.
Bear in mind, however, that often the same benefits can be felt from a home-made beverage containing low levels of sugar and salt, for a fraction of the price.