ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — A new Harris Poll survey finds the majority of adults in the U.S. who exercise intensely understand the importance of maintaining hydration throughout a workout (93%) and that hydration is important for muscle recovery (89%), yet many have misconceptions about the type of hydration that may impact their ability to perform and recover optimally.
The survey conducted for Abbott found 46% of people who report regular, intense exercise at least three days per week believe that energy drinks and soda can aid in rehydration after a strenuous4 workout. This conflicts with guidance from the scientific community that these drinks can contribute to dehydration due to large amounts of sugar and insufficient levels of electrolytes.
Understanding the Science Behind Hydration and Its Impact on Performance
During a workout, dehydration occurs when fluid losses – whether from sweating, increased core temperatures or even breathing – exceed fluid consumed through both foods and drinks. Fluid loss is also accompanied by the loss of electrolytes, which are minerals that aid in healthy cell signaling and function.
“Water makes up nearly 75 percent of every cell in your body, making its replacement during and after exercise essential to everyday health,” said Craig Horswill, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “What many don’t realize is that electrolytes also help direct the flow of water in and out of cells, helping to support rehydration and muscle repair. Carbohydrates like glucose are needed to pull the electrolytes and water into the body during rehydration, yet too much sugar can slow rehydration and delay recovery.”
Abbott, maker of Pedialyte, and Jeanette Jenkins, human kinetics expert and one of the nation’s leading health and fitness coaches, are encouraging fitness enthusiasts to focus on the quality of an electrolyte beverage because ingredients can impact hydration status and how muscles function and recover.
“I tell my clients that to get results, they need to be mindful of both their food and beverage choices as part of their workout preparation and recovery,” said Jenkins, who has trained professional athletes, including professional basketball champions. “It’s important to approach hydration with intention; get plenty of water and hydrating liquids like Pedialyte each day before, during and after a workout and track your progress on overall nutrition and health goals.”
In 2020, Abbott’s Pedialyte launched a new rehydration solution scientifically designed for athletes with five key electrolytes for muscle support. Offering three times the electrolytes and one-fourth the sugar of the leading sports drink,7 Pedialyte Sport was developed to help athletes avoid negative symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration like muscle cramping, fatigue and headache by replacing fluid/water lost in sweat. It has an optimal balance of glucose and sodium, which is critical to the rehydration process. Electrolytes also support fluid balance in the body and are vital to muscle and nerve function, as well as help facilitate muscle repair.
“Abbott continues to advance Pedialyte’s formulations, which were originally created to help prevent mild to moderate dehydration in sick children,” said Chris Calamari, senior vice president of U.S. nutrition at Abbott. “As the number one, doctor-recommended electrolyte solution, adults, athletes and trainers recognize the science behind this product, which led us to develop Pedialyte Sport. Created specifically for athletes, Pedialyte Sport is designed for fast rehydration and replenishment of fluid and electrolytes during recovery.”