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Water vs. Sports Drinks

21 April 2004


Which is the better drink to replace fluids lost during exercise: water or sports drinks?

It depends on the length of your workout. For workouts less than an hour, you should drink at least half a cup of water every 20 minutes. If you exercise vigorously for longer than an hour, a sports drink or another beverage with sugar in it will fuel your muscles, according to Connecticut College.

If your workout calls for a sugar boost, choose drinks that contain 15-18 grams of carbohydrates for every eight ounces of fluid. Drinks with higher amounts of carbs could delay absorption and lead to dehydration, cramps, nausea or diarrhea.

Most sports drinks also contain the electrolytes sodium and potassium. These are important in maintaining the right fluid balance in your body.