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If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health - Hippocrates


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There's no denying that we need exercise in our lives to stay fit both physically and mentally.

Not only do we need to pay attention to our diet, get a good nights rest and drink plenty of water, we need to incorporate some form of exercise into our daily routines. That can mean different things to different people, hours of aerobic classes a week, playing competitive sports, frisbee in the park with the dog, walking with a friend, the choices are many and varied.

And don't forget to hydrate! But, the question is, are sports drinks necessary?

Since our body loses fluid during exercise it seems to make sense to rehydrate and replace electrolytes with sports drinks. However, the body manages the content of perspiration to ensure that only small amounts of electrolytes are lost. The kidneys also conserve fluids and electrolytes by cutting back on urine production during exercise.

Research suggests that you need to engage in at least one hour of strenuous exercise such as running before electrolytes need to be replenished. So, for many athletes and for most people who drink sports drinks, the benefit is unnecessary.

So, which is better water or sports drinks? Sports drinks are okay when they are used correctly...to replace fluids and electrolytes after heavy exercise. When used by the casual athlete or the wannabe, they add unnecessary calories and sodium. Many people prefer the taste to water so they are apt to drink more and rehydrate faster. And sports drinks are a better alternative than soda or fruit juice.

On the minus side, water is better, cheaper and doesn’t add unnecessary carbohydrates or sodium to the already over processed diet of most people. Vitamin waters are probably OK, if you can afford them.

With a broad variety of fitness facilities promoting a multitude of fitness disciplines there's something out there for everyone. You have no excuse to get off that couch and exercise, so get moving!