Why Are Sports Drinks Better Than Water?
There’s a constant debate in baseball circles about what’s better – water or sports drinks? What helps you get through a long baseball game and keeps you energized throughout? Why are sports drinks better than water, as so many people suggest?
Water is essential for the human body, and during a game, a baseball player would lose a lot of water and would need to be constantly hydrated. That’s why the most important factor to be considered here is hydration, or, in particular, fluid replacement. Keeping this in mind, let’s talk about what works best for you and discuss why sports drinks are better than water.
Keeping The Body Hydrated
As you exercise, or go through a full baseball game, the body loses a good amount of water or fluid, through sweat. The lost fluids need to be replaced, and the body has to be kept hydrated. Why is fluid replacement or keeping the body hydrated so important?
Water is essential for your health. It keeps your heart rate normal, supplies oxygen and nutrients to the various internal organs in the body, and gets rid of toxic impurities from the body. The blood is basically composed of water and water also forms a large part of the body’s weight. Water regulates the body’s temperature.
While the elevated level of activity experienced during a baseball game or working out is beneficial for your muscles, as they get a real work out, you’ll also lose plenty of water, especially if the conditions are really hot out there.
Always avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol before, during, and even after the game. These drinks are diuretics and actually make you lose water.
In fact, you may lose as much as 2 to 6% of your body weight during a game, and almost all of the weight loss may be attributed to losing water through sweat. Add in an especially humid day and these numbers can increase dramatically. And if you don’t get enough water during a game, you’re likely to feel dizzy, get cramps, feel severely exhausted, and may even suffer from heat stroke. Certainly, not a pretty situation to be in!
So, Again, Why Are Sports Drinks Better Than Water?
The point made here, so far, in the debate about why sports drinks are better than water, is that water is essential for you. Should you have just water, or have water in the form of a sports drink? Well, there’s nothing wrong with having pure water, whether before the game, during, or after it. Indeed, you can never go wrong with having plenty of water during a baseball game.
But Does Having a Sports Drink Instead Of Water Have Additional Advantages?
There’s much to be said in favor of sports drinks. They keep the body hydrated, just as water does. Plus, they have a distinct taste and flavor to them, which many athletes find appealing. In fact, if you’re one of those people who like the taste of a sports drink, you’d probably prefer a sports drink to water in a competitive game.
You drink a sports drink, not just because you know it helps to keep you hydrated, but also because you like how it tastes – this is a major advantage a sports drink has over water. It would mean that you’ll have more fluids in your system, and be better hydrated. Basically, if you like the taste, you will most likely drink more.
Electrolytes vs Water
The other advantage is that sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates. You may not need them while exercising or physically exerting yourself for a short burst of time, but during a baseball game, which can last for hours, it’s always better to keep your body supplied with electrolytes and carbohydrates, as your body would require all the energy it can get. You get this in sports drinks, but barely in water.
Electrolytes are minerals that conduct electricity when dissolved in water and research shows that they control your fluid balance, maintain correct acidity of your blood (pH) and help muscles contract e.g. your heart. Common electrolytes include sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Water (unless it’s distilled) contains at least a small amount of electrolytes. Some enhanced waters e.g. may have additional electrolyte benefits.
While this debate may never be settled, I personally feel that sports drinks during the game replenish lost fluids better than water.
Does Vitamin Water Have Electrolytes?
Vitamin Water does have electrolytes but at such low amounts that it shouldn’t be considered an electrolyte replenisher like a sports drink.
Disadvantages of Sports Drinks
We’ve discussed all the advantages of sports drinks so let’s be fair and briefly touch on the disadvantages. One of the main drawbacks of sports drinks is that they contain sugar, calories and sodium. Sugar is unhealthy especially a lot. Calories can be problematic as well especially for those looking to maintain or cut weight. Your body needs sodium but if it’s a light or low-intensity workout water may be sufficient while still maintaining sodium levels.
Sports Drinks with Electrolytes
Here are a some sports drink brands with good sources of electrolytes for hydration:
- Gatorade Thirst Quencher
- Nooma Organic Electrolyte
- Nuun Sport Electrolyte (low sugar)
- Pedialyte Sport Electrolyte
- Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Power
How Much Water or Sports Drink Should You Have During a Baseball Game?
You should have a water bottle or a sports drink close at hand at all times during a baseball game. You should drink before the game, throughout the game and after the game. Just don’t allow yourself to get thirsty for any length of time and don’t get dehydrated, no matter what.
Have around 16-32 ounces of your favorite sports drink or water during a game. More or less is perfectly o.k. There is no magic number of ounces to keep you going. My best advice is, if you’re thirsty, drink!
Always keep in mind that on those really humid days, the body will lose fluids at a much faster rate. It’s always a good idea to have a water cooler right on the bench, that way if someone forgets their drink, you won’t have to worry about them getting dehydrated.
It’s a good idea to pre-hydrate your body before the game even starts. Have 8 to 24 ounces of water an hour before the game.
I hope you found this article informative and helpful. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor; nor do I play one on t.v. 🙂 These tips are my own best practices that I have found to work the best for me over the years.
Whether you go the water route, or decide that you prefer a sports drink, just please stay hydrated! Thanks for stopping by. ~Jeremy
P.S. The best way I have found to save a little money, is to buy the Gatorade powder packs. You can make up to 9 gallons of Gatorade with this thirst quencher mix.