When do we need sports drinks?

Every Footy and Netball player needs an energy drink after the game, right? WRONG! Sometimes we can be misinformed as to why we need sports drinks and energy drinks. Read on as we set the record straight.

These products were first developed for endurance athletes like marathon runners, cyclists, tennis players etc., people who are exercising for long periods of time without the replenishment of food. But somehow, the multi million dollar companies that make and market these products have appealed to the general population rather than just the endurance athlete.  If we eat properly we should be carrying around enough energy in our bodies to fuel us through everyday activities. Things like playing a game of junior footy or a 45 minute netball match, going for our morning run, doing our workout, a session at the gym, a game of tennis, a long walk, doing the housework. It’s only when we have been doing high intensity, vigorous activity for more than an hour and a half that our energy stores (glycogen)  become depleted. So as an athlete, if you are going to continue exercising for more than an hour and a half and you haven’t been fuelling your body properly with food, then, only then, would these drinks be helpful. These products get into the bloodstream really quickly and replenish the energy in our muscles so that we can continue to keep the intensity high during endurance activities like a game of AFL footy or running a marathon.

We must remember that these products are high in calories/sugar/salt and add to our daily intake. So if you are playing a game of footy or netball and then have a Gatorade you are pretty much consuming an entire meals worth of energy in just one drink! Instead you could have a bottle of water and a salad roll to refuel your body for recovery and keep your energy levels high!

A note for parents………Its up to us to educate our kids on the dangers of these types of drinks, our children are being brainwashed and miss-informed by the media. Some children think because they have exercised, it’s ok to have these drinks. But what they don’t realise is they contain about 200 calories, the same as a salad roll, and are loaded with sugar and salt, which is responsible for a rise in juvenile type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity. It’s up to us to educate them and others on the correct use of these products. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzrBMXRp1FI