Staying hydrated while staying in shape? by guest expert Simone Austin APDExpert Examiner, Food Flash — By Emma Stirling on May 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm
Mr Surfer Dude is in training for the Great Ocean Road marathon and in one week’s time we’ll be cheering him across the line
(we hope). Meanwhile, our clothes line is strewn with running skins, knee high compression socks (not a good look with board shorts & bike knicks…but you can’t always teach an old dog new tricks) and his camelbak with hose pipe airing in the breeze. So the good wifey decided I should touch base on the latest hydration guidelines (for the wanna be elites) or the movers and jigglers shakers like me running the Mother’s Day Classic for National Breast Cancer Foundation. Is a sports drink best? For training and events? What about if you experience gastro issues? Or find them too sweet? So I caught up with one of our expert sports dietitians and my mate from student days, for the latest advice.
Simone Austin is an highly experienced accredited practising sports dietitian with over 16 years experience. She currently works with AFL team Hawthorn, rugby league team Melbourne Storm and A League soccer team Melbourne Heart, together with Olympic swimmers. Her broad experience has also included past work with the Australian Cricket Team, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Rebels rugby union as well as community nutrition and health promotion, private practice, aged care and working in the complimentary medicine industry. Simone was the consultant dietitian to Hydration Pharmaceuticals on the launch of Hydralyte Sports featured in this post.
It can be confusing for most people to know what drink is suitable to replace the fluid and nutrients you need when exercising. Not everyone has access to a sports dietitian for tailored advice like my footy players. The balance can get even more tricky when you consider other goals, like weight loss. Will a sports drink help your efforts or can the extra kilojoules hinder your weight loss goals, and cancel out that hour in the gym or on the road?
The question many people ask themselves is should I just be drinking water? As it doesn’t have any kilojoules or calories in it. Water is a suitable fluid most of the time and should be your main drink of choice. However, to aid optimal hydration, fluids containing electrolytes with carbohydrate (glucose) are better for durations longer than 60-90minutes.
Clinical studies have found carbohydrate and electrolytes such as sodium (salt) and potassium will provide more effective and rapid rehydration than water alone. These electrolytes will allow you to retain fluid more effectively, and assist in reducing the continual visits to the toilet with water seeming to go out as fast as you are putting it in!
Most people reach for a standard sports drink for electrolytes and carbohydrates (around 7% sugar content), but there are other options. In reality in elite sport we constantly tweak and tailor the levels and hydration needs to each person at different times. Because there is considerable variability in sweating rates and sweat electrolyte content between individuals, customised fluid replacement programs are recommended. Individual sweat rates can be estimated by measuring body weight before and after exercise.
Research has shown that drinks with high sugar concentrations may lead to unpleasant feelings of fullness and delayed emptying of the stomach and are not needed during many forms of physical activity. So another choice for hydration that won’t expand the waist line and cause an upset stomach, is an electrolyte drink such as an oral rehydration solution that is lower in sugar, preferably around 2%. Hydralyte Sports is a new offering that ticks the boxes and provides only 192 kilojoues per 600mL serve compared with a typical sports drink of 780kilojoules per 600mL.
Hyrdalyte Sports is available in orange and lemon lime flavours and comes in single serve sachets to mix with water. 5 pack RRP $19.95 or 12 pack RRP $39.95 from leading pharmacies in Australia.
Reference: American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable on Hydration and Physical Activity: Consensus Statements Douglas J. Casa, PhD, ATC, FACSM*, Priscilla M. Clarkson, PhD, FACSM, and William O. Roberts, MD, FACSM ACSM Current Sports Medicine Reports 2005, 4:115–127
Thanks Simone, it’s been lovely catching up with you. I’m sure our Scoop audience have a sports question or two for you? Do you lovely readers? This is your chance to speak to one of the best, so drop us a comment below.