There’s a plethora of sports drinks on the market, and you’d have to be living under a rock not to know it. But are they really necessary? Do they deliver on what they promise? And is it possible to make your own sports drink for a lot less money?
Let’s take those questions one at a time. Are sports drinks necessary? For people in certain situations, yes. For example, after prolonged exercise (longer than 60 minutes), some sports drinks can help replenish electrolytes that the body excretes through sweat. Electrolytes (including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) carry electrical charges that help stimulate muscles and nerves. They also regulate the amount of fluids throughout your body, which affects blood pressure, blood volume, and cellular function. In a nutshell, electrolytes are good, and if you’re a “salty sweater” – that is, someone with a high sweat rate – it’s especially important that you replenish electrolytes after intense activity.