Sports drinks are being continually
developed to speed up the rehydration process. Such drinks contain sodium and
/or carbohydrates (glucose), amongst other electrolytes. Many of these drinks
contain a glucose polymer, which is an easily digestible form of complex
Research indicates that sports drinks are required in addition to water if the
athlete is intending to perform at low-high intensity for more than one hour.
Water is perfectly adequate for any shorter periods as the glucose provided by
a sports drink will not be utilized and sodium can easily be replenished
Athletes performing at a higher intensity for longer periods can benefit from
sports drinks as they rehydrate faster and if consumed during exercise, may
enhance performance. The glucose content of the sports drink raises blood sugar
levels and spares muscles glycogen, so the muscles are able to contract harder,
for longer periods. Sodium assists in the retention of water in the blood
without inhibiting feelings of thirst therefore hydration is faster.
It should be noted that further research by nutritionists warn that too much
sodium may be detrimental and that sports drinks can be high in calorie