With school in session, student athletes all around Texas are gearing up for football, cross country, volleyball and many others sports. Good nutrition as an athlete is a crucial part to training and performance. One on the most popular questions that I receive as a dietitian is, When do athletes need a sports beverage? Sports drinks are high in calories, salt and potassium and are intended for athletes to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes after intense exercise.
If you or your child exercises at a high intensity for more than one hour, consider a beverage to replace electrolytes.
Electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium. These minerals help conduct electrical impulses that signal muscles to contract. Strenuous movement and sweating may cause electrolyte imbalance if you are exercising for a long period of time without replenishing. Signs of electrolyte imbalance are cramps, nausea, dizziness and dark colored urine. Water remains the ideal beverage to optimize hydration during exercise but sports drinks are beneficial at during extensive exercise.
Homemade Sports Drink
(recipe adapted from Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD)
3 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup 100% fruit juice plus 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups cold water
- In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the honey and salt in the hot water
- Add juice and the remaining water, chill
Nutrition: (Per 8 oz) Calories: 50, Carbohydrates 12g, Sodium 110mg