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FITNESS AND EXERCISE Drink to your health



Published: Fri, September 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Water, water, water. Is there any other choice?

By KATIE-NELL SCANLON

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Riptide Rush. Jagged Ice. Fierce Grape.

Grocery shelves are stocked with an endless supply of bottles promising better performance, more energy and great taste.

But how do they compete with old-fashioned water?

Jodi Beck, personal trainer at Club South Health & amp; Fitness Center on Tiffany Boulevard in Boardman, said staying hydrated is a necessity when it comes to having a healthy workout.

"Drinking a lot of water is especially important," Beck said. "But sports drinks are good because most of them balance electrolytes -- sodium, potassium and calcium levels in the body."

Beck said young adults may be tempted during physical activity to grab an icy cold soft drink. But caffeinated pop dehydrates the body, doing the opposite of what your body needs. For longer, more intense workouts, sports drinks replenish the nutrients and minerals the body loses, fighting fatigue and boosting energy.

Beck said sports drinks also benefit the body in hot weather, replacing fluids lost through perspiration. But for moderate exercise, a sufficient amount of water does the trick.

What you need

Just how much is sufficient? Well, despite the questions of effectiveness of the "eight glasses a day" rule, your body needs a little over 4 cups of water per 1,000 calories burned. An average person uses about 2,000 calories per day to keep the body healthy, which adds up to about 8.5 glasses. Athletes who burn off 3,000 to 6,000 calories per day need even more fluids.

But water isn't the only method to quench thirst. Certain food choices play a significant role in the body's performance. Beck said bananas and oranges, which are high in potassium and calcium, can remedy muscle cramps during exercise and improve results from every workout. Fruits and vegetables contain as much as 95 percent water. Milk and juices can also aid in keeping the body hydrated.

Mike Venrose, 23, of Poland said he believes in the benefits of water over the myths that surround today's most popular sports drinks.

"I don't think Gatorade does anything special, except just quench the thirst," Venrose said. "But water does the same thing."

Although he admits that his diet could use some improvement, he stays active working out an average of three times a week for 45 to 60 minutes.

Cross-training

Venrose said his technique consists of weightlifting along with a cardiovascular workout. By playing tennis and basketball, Venrose said he balances strength and good exercise in and out of the weight room.

He also said he doesn't believe in taking supplements or eating power bars for more energy or strength.

Beck said athletes who excel in one sport, especially at the high school and college level, should be sure to cross-train and stay active all year-round, preferably by playing different sports and alternating workout schedules.

YSU student Stacie Rubicky drinks throughout her cardiovascular workouts, but said sports drinks are overrated.

"I drink more water when I'm working out but I still don't think I get enough water during the day," Rubicky said. "But I've never liked sports drinks."

Brian Danilov, Campbell resident and basketball coach at George Jr. Republic in Grove City, Pa., is a strong supporter of what's on the market today. But he recommended being selective in what to include in your diet.

"Some of those drinks that are out now taste good, but they're too hard on your system," Danilov said. "They probably have too much sugar in them. You want something a little more bland."

Danilov said the best thing is to find a balance of protein and carbohydrates before and after workouts.

kscanlon@vindy.com




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