The Athlete’s Mouth—Keeping It Fit

You’ve started a fitness program or joined a sports team. Good for you! You may want to lose weight, tone up muscles, and extend your life. And you may have heard that exercise can cure some forms of heart disease, ward off certain forms of cancer, ease the symptoms of arthritis, and even prevent or reverse depression.

You’re educating yourself on great nutrition, counting calories or carbs maybe, swallowing healthy supple-ments, substituting fiber-rich grains for processed foods, and rejecting anything containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). You shun soft drinks completely. Who needs the sugar and the acid? Not you!

You know the importance of staying hydrated, replenishing fluids lost to perspiration. There’s a wide variety of beverages called “sports drinks,” “energy drinks,” and “vitamin waters.” You may believe that if water is good, these enhanced waters might be even better.

Guess again! They’re not only detrimental, their sugar causes teeth to erode, they actually deprive an athlete’s body of what it really needs—water. Your body requires water for muscle growth, weight loss, and digestion. Every ounce of fluid you drink that isn’t plain water is an ounce stolen from the amount you need to get great workout results. Trainers recommend that athletes drink 8 ounces of water every 10 or 20 minutes. If you perspire heavily, drink even more.

If you’re among the athletes who need to replace electrolytes, check out the electrolyte waters now available at supermarkets. Zero calories—and none of the tooth-decaying carbonation and bacteria-promoting sugar of sports drinks like Gatorade®, energy drinks like Red Bull® and Rock Star®, and the so-called vitamin waters made by Glaceau®.

Working out can be a challenge. Keeping your mouth in fighting trim might be the easiest part.

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