JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -Proper hydration is critical to performance and reduces the risk for heat related illness.
However, sports drinks can provide an advantage over water by boosting energy and replacing lost electrolytes.
Norm Judd with the Saint Bernards Health and Wellness Center says the key difference between Gatorade and water is on the label.
"With those sports drinks, we're looking at magnesium, potassium, and sodium. And those are going to help maintain that electrolyte balance in our system."
J.J. Ryan with Ten Fitness trains a wide variety of people.
He says water is always ideal for low-intensity, casual workouts
If you're trying to lose weight, stay away from sports drinks as they have more calories than water.
"Do you want the extra calories? Do you not? If you're trying to lose weight, and if you're not going with a long duration, high-intensity then I think you'd be fine with water."
Sports drinks have been found to increase endurance, reduce muscle damage, and promote faster recovery--but they also limit immune system suppression that follows hard workouts.
"I think that all depends on how long you work out and how hard you're working out."
Gatorade is even good for those who work outside or without air conditioning during the summer heat.
Judd says the important thing is to avoid dehydration by drinking before you feel thirsty.
"About every 1 to 2 percent of weight we that lose in dehydration or fluid loss, can result in up to a 10 percent reduction in strength or performance."
Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, and headaches and dizziness.
Judd recommends a glass of water for every twenty minutes of physical activity, switching to a sports drink after an hour.
"Our muscles are about 75% water, so if we don't keep them properly hydrated, then we're losing that efficiency there."