APR 28, 2017 1:43 PM PDT

Why are Sports Drinks Better than Plain Water?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

If you've ever participated in any strenuous physical activity, you probably received the advice to stay well hydrated. In particular, liquids that contain electrolytes are often recommended over plain water to promote better rehydration. What exactly are electrolytes and are they actually better than just H2O?

Electrolytes are electrically charged compounds that are dissolved in the body's fluids. Some of the most common electrolytes are sodium, calcium, chloride, magnesium and potassium ions. These molecules are vital to our survival, as they help regulate essential functions in major organs, such as the brain and the heart, as well as our general fluid balance.

Thus, replenishing with an electrolyte-enriched drink allows the body to recover loss of fluid as well as electrolytes that are typically lost through sweat. This allows the body to more quickly recover and prevents severe electrolyte imbalance.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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