The human body is made up of two thirds water. Water is essential for the body to function. The body’s ability to retain water is critical during exercise. Not getting enough water can lead to dehydration, which can be fatal.
The health risks of pure water after your workout
When we exercise our body loses about a quart of water through sweating, which also contains salt. If a person only drinks pure water after the workout, about half of the water will be lost in the urine over the next two hours.
However, drinking pure water only isn’t always the safest choice after a long or very strenuous workout. Drinking excessive amounts of water during or immediately following workouts can lead to a life-threatening condition known as hyponatremia. This happens when the body’s ability to rid itself of excess water becomes overwhelmed. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, swelling, weight gain, confusion, agitation, and headaches.
Why to choose salted water instead
Adding salt to drinks can enhance water absorption after a workout by replacing the salt lost in the sweat. This helps maintain your blood volume. Sports drinks are one way to retain water, another is to drink water and snack on a small bag of salted pretzels.
What drinks to choose
Sports drinks typically contain as much as two thirds the sugar of soda, and some contain high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, flavors, and food coloring. However, drinks like Gatorade, PowerAde, and All sport can give you a much needed energy boost during your activity. These drinks are designed to replace fluids rapidly, and increase the sugar circulating in your blood.
What drinks to avoid
Avoid energy drinks, like Rock star or Monster, as these offer empty calories and the carbohydrates only offer short burst of energy. Flavored water drinks like Vitamin water have too much sugar which can contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Most flavors of Vitamin Water contain 120 calories and more than 30 grams of sugar per bottle.