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Energy drinks for athletes occupy a huge industry and there are always some advertising campaigns lined up for athletes. Marathon runners and distance runners in general are the most likely promoters of such sports drinks. No matter how strong their branding efforts are, some people are just not comfortable with the idea of lab-made ingredients that are part of energy drinks. Those who wish to have a more natural alternative to sports drinks can fashion some healthy drinks from whatever is available in their refrigerator.
It’s true that certain energy drinks are better than water because they offer more benefits than just hydration. However, the main ingredient of these drinks is a sugar maltodextrin which offers an immediate source of energy. This is good for short runs but will not be much help when it comes to distance running. Due to the presence of high amount of readily available sugar in blood, the body will be triggered to produce more insulin.
For distance running, it is important that the blood sugar level is limited to 4 percent so that more insulin is not released. To minimize this effect, a mixture of water and natural fruit juice is recommended. It will prevent sugar level spiking, hence keeping the levels of insulin under control. This means the water and juice must be taken in a ratio of 2 is to 1.
Moreover, the athletes’ body loses electrolytes through sweating. Whether it’s running training or a real marathon, some essential salts will be lost, resulting in muscle cramps. Orange juice can help here since it’s a natural source of potassium. Besides, long distance runners who will exceed 4 hours of running will need a source of sodium to fuel their run.
There is another category of sports drinks that is known as recovery drink. Rather than sipping it during the race, it is preferably taken after the race comes to an end. For instance, you had a prolonged bout and now you are taking some time out. Recovery drinks will provide necessary nourishment to keep you sustained for the next round.