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How To Stay Hydrated

Courtney Zieller

Whether you're hitting the gym indoors or headed to play a game outdoors, staying hydrated is critical to your success. There are so many options when it comes to sports drinks, but some athletes have another drink of choice.

Traci Karst has been a bodybuilder for the past ten years.

"I get every body part in once a week so five days a week," Karst said.
To keep hydrated during workouts Karst has a preference.

"On a bodybuilder's diet, your sugar intake is pretty important," Karst said.
So her choice isn't a sports drink.

"Some of the other drinks have too much sugar in them so I prefer just to stay with water," Karst said.

But not everyone has the same taste. Sports Dietitian Lisa Esposito says traditional sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade should keep you hydrated if you're involved in an high activity sport, indoor or out.

"Especially with endurance runners and cyclists, if you have athletes throughout the day like recreational baseball or softball and they know they'll have two or three games in a day, that maybe the time to start replacing the electrolytes with Gatorade or Powerade," Esposito said.

But it's not something you need if you're not active.

"For people who have weight control issues, drinking Gatorade throughout the day when you're not physically active is just adding calories and it's not giving you any extra benefits to you," Esposito said.

Lower calorie sports drinks or flavored water like Powerade Zero, Propel or Vitamin Water are for shorter workouts but Esposito warns some people might have a reaction to these drinks.

"If you have GI [gastrointestinal] issues, upset stomach, diarrhea that day or the next day, you maybe reacting to sweeteners in those drinks and it might be a good idea to find an alternative," Esposito said.

If your workouts aren't marathon sweat sessions, Esposito suggests just plain water.

"If you're going out and exercising less than an hour or even less than an hour and a half, water should be adequate. You're not going to be losing enough sodium and electrolytes to cause muscle cramping or severe dehydration," Esposito said.

That's why the simplest solution is sometimes the best choice.

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