While many sports beverage companies advertise their 80’s-style-neon-colored drinks, plain water is actually often the best “sports drink.” They contain not just electrolytes, but often extra calories, caffeine, and lots of artificial everything- coloring, sweeteners and flavors. For causal activity, water is the best beverage to hydrate. For weekend-warriors and endurance athletes who exercise for more than an hour, an electrolyte replacement drink (make your own!) may help avoid dehydration and improve performance. Remember to drink water before, during, and after working out – especially in hot weather and climates.
Sign of dehydration include thirst, dry eyes and skin, dark-colored urine, and tiredness; less obvious symptoms include digestive issues such as constipation and heartburn, urinary tract infections, weakened immunity and weight gain.
Most people need to consume between two and four quarts of plain water each day. Pay attention to the color of your urine, which should be light-colored, and the amount (which should roughly equal your intake of water) to achieve proper hydration.