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Fitness & Exercise

Drink Up for Sports and Fitness

The best beverages to help you stay hydrated
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What About Fitness and Designer Waters?

"Fitness waters" such as Propel are lightly flavored and have added vitamins and minerals. The additional nutrients are meant to supplement a healthy diet -- not replace losses from exercise.

Fitness waters fall somewhere between the sports drinks and plain water. They contain fewer calories and electrolytes than sports drinks, but offer more taste than plain water. The choice is yours: once again, if drinking these beverages helps you stay hydrated, go for it.

Bottled water has catapulted to the top of the beverage industry, with sales of $8.3 billion in 2003. One of the fastest-growing segments of that market is designer waters.

These "super-waters" are advertised as being enhanced with everything from vitamins, oxygen and glucose, to alleged fat-burning minerals. Keep in mind that the FDA does not require proof of this kind of claim. So think of these products as designer waters that serve the primary purpose of hydration and little more. Don't be fooled by the claims that some can promote weight loss!

Beyond Hydration

Fluids are vital to help your muscles function throughout your activity -- but so is your blood sugar. You need to eat a light meal or snack of at least 100 calories about an hour or so before your activity. The nutrients from the snack will help you perform better and keep hunger from interfering with your activity.

The best snacks combine healthy carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat. Fruit, yogurt, nuts, and granola bars are all good examples. Read "Recipe Doctor" Elaine Magee's article on snack bars for more options for fueling your workout.

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Reviewed on June 09, 2005

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