Sports drink: hypotonic, isotonic: what's the difference?
Electrolytes in sport: isotonic or hypotonic drink?
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, from Sunday jogging to triathlon, hydration is an important element to take into account in order to be in optimal shape during physical exertion. In this article, we will see why sport rhymes with hydration as well as the different types of so-called effort drinks. Then we will give you help to choose the ideal drink.
Why hydrate during physical exertion?
During physical exertion there is an increase in the body temperature of the body. To avoid overheating of our body, temperature regulation is put in place. Thus, to lower this temperature our body sweats, it is perspiration. This will then lead to a loss of water and mineral salts (or electrolytes) such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Sweating then leads to dehydration which is characterized by a lack of electrolytes due to an imbalance between water intake and water loss. Indeed, electrolytes are essential for athletes because they participate in good hydration, muscle contraction or even the transport of the nervous message from the brain to the muscles. Consequently, a deficiency in one or more of these electrolytes has repercussions on the functioning of the organism, in particular during the practice of a physical activity.
Magnesium contributes to muscle relaxation after contraction and therefore helps to fight against cramps following physical exertion.
Potassium plays a role in the transmission of nerve messages and muscle contraction. It also has alkalizing properties, that is to say, it fights against acidity, in particular the lactic acid produced during exercise. Lactic acid being the main factor favoring the appearance of muscle cramps.
Thus, many athletes regularly consume bananas because it is one of the fruits containing the most magnesium and potassium and therefore helps to prevent cramps and aches.
Concerning the contributions, it is considered that it is necessary to drink 0.5 liters of drink containing electrolytes per one hour of sport. If the physical activity lasts less than an hour, water alone is sufficient.
What do “Isotonic” and “Hypotonic” mean?
These terms are used to describe the difference in concentration between the compounds present in the blood and those in the drink. We then speak of isotonia when the proportions of substances are identical between the blood and the drink. A hypotonic drink has lower concentrations of solutes than in the blood.
There are also hypertonic drinks, also called energy drinks because they contain a lot of sugars and thus provide energy to the body.
However, hypertonic drinks reduce the rate of absorption of water because the concentration of solutes being higher, there is first a step of dilution of the drink thanks to the water present in the blood, which leads to a temporary dehydration. It is once diluted that water and electrolytes can then be absorbed by the body. As a result, hypertonic drinks can be used in specific conditions, in particular during efforts of more than 60 minutes for which the need for hydration is low, such as during cold weather, for example, because perspiration is lower and therefore dehydration is lesser.
How to choose the right exercise drink?
A hypotonic drink can cover more water and electrolyte losses compared to sugar losses. An isotonic drink covers losses in water, mineral salts and sugars in an equivalent way.
The drink should be chosen based on the planned effort. Indeed, an isotonic drink promotes water and electrolyte intake to compensate for the losses caused by perspiration during sports practice. They are therefore used for sports of effort and endurance such as during a triathlon or a marathon because there is a greater risk of dehydration.
The hypotonic drink is used when the goal is hydration rather than energy, as it contains very little sugar. It allows for faster water absorption and hydration. They are ideally used for recreational sports or shorter or less strenuous efforts.
However, the drink should also be chosen according to the needs of your body. Thus, if during the effort, you experience gastric discomfort, the drink is too concentrated and you must therefore opt for a rather isotonic or hypotonic drink. On the contrary, if during exercise, you feel the urge to urinate more quickly than usual, this means that the water has been absorbed too quickly and then eliminated, you must then switch to a more concentrated drink which causes a slower and progressive assimilation of water.
Hydratis is the solution to your problems. Indeed, the Hydratis lozenges allow you to make your own exercise drink according to your needs and your body.
One pellet in 500ml of water provides a hypotonic drink. It is also possible to have an isotonic drink with two pellets in the same volume of water.
Hydratis pellets are enriched with mineral salts (sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese) and help cover losses during exercise. They are also a source of energy thanks to their carbohydrate (sucrose) content. Hydratis has thousands of reviews from customers who have been able to optimize their daily hydration.
To conclude, a hypotonic drink is therefore less concentrated than an isotonic drink. To choose the ideal drink, it is necessary to take into account the effort provided during the physical exercise and the losses which it generates. It is also important to know how to recognize the needs of your body and to adapt accordingly in order to be in its optimal shape.
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