There’s a lot of discussion going on about what athletes should drink. I decided to do some research and discover for myself what experts agree on as the 6 best sports drinks for kids.
Here’s what I learned:
Our bodies are made up of 70-percent water and when you sweat you lose water concentration. Athletes should drink water constantly, not just before and after a work out. Water transports oxygen and glucose throughout your body, and helps to keep muscles flexible and strong, and joints agile and lubricated.
Physiologist Joel Stager, director of the Human Performance laboratory at Indiana University, says that that drinking chocolate milk after exercise can help recharge tired muscles by providing carbohydrates, thus helping with recovery after working out. The carbs and protein in chocolate milk offer important health benefits, especially to athletes.
After reading about the various sports drinks, it seems that the GSeries offers the two best alternatives for hydration.
The GSeries 02 Perform has a good balance of carbohydrates, sugars, and electrolytes to keep you going when your workout extends past the 60-minute activity threshold.
The GSeries Fit, on the other hand, is great for the casual exerciser who wants the rehydrating effects of a sports drink with fewer calories.
However, most nutritionists agree that sports drinks are only beneficial if your workout is longer than 60 minutes.
Doctors and sports nutritionists recommend these drinks for endurance and pro athletes, who need the extra calories, sugars and salts. They say that the average person working out or attending a class isn’t in need of anything labeled GSeries Pro or Perform because research shows that athletes don’t deplete their electrolyte and glycogen stores if they’ve worked out less than an hour.
Homemade Sports Drink
Barbara Lewin, a sports nutritionist who works with professional and Olympic athletes, as well as regular gym-goers, has a go-to mix for a healthful, natural alternative sports drink:
3.5 cups water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
An eight-ounce serving provides 50 calories and 110 mg sodium.
If you want to stay away from bottled options, you could try a powder, suggests nutritionist and former USA swimmer Stella Mostovas. Powders usually come with fewer sweeteners and offer the same balance of electrolytes. With powdered drinks, you get the nutritional benefits of a sports drink without the extra sugar, flavors, and colors. Most major companies, such as Gatorade and Powerade, sell these mixes.
Flavored, low-calorie drinks such as vitamin waters or light energy drinks contain less calories than regular power drinks, and can be good choices for athletes engaged doing light to moderate activity. However, for athletes participating in strenuous training or working out in hot conditions, they are not suggested because they do not provide the calories or electrolytes needed.
Do you have any other favorite sports drinks you’d add to the list?
Get my free new report: Sportsparents’ Guide: 55 time & money-saving tips guaranteed to make your life easier. You’ll also get regular sports parenting tips each week and a weekly parenting tip. Sign up here.