Q | Do I really need a sports drink? And if so, can I make my own?
A |Sports drinks are designed to replenish fluids and energy lost during vigorous exercise, but many commercial products contain artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. And unless you’re working hard and long, you probably don’t need them.
Athletes who work out at a higher intensity for more than 60 minutes and in extreme temperatures (hot or cold) are the most likely to benefit from sports drinks. Those participating in a moderate-intensity exercise program in a climate-controlled environment probably won’t. And, if you’re trying to drop body fat, those extra calories could negate some of your efforts.
Exercise physiologist Mike Nelson, MSME, CSCS, PhD, says an effective sports drink contains water for hydration, carbohydrates for fuel, and electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium. This combination can help stave off dehydration and overheating while improving performance. Want to make your own? See the basic DIY recipe below.