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Drink up! Help students stay hydrated.

Jam-packed competition days make it hard for students to stay fueled. "Dancers who are moving continuously for 60 minutes or more should rehydrate with a half-cup of water every hour," says Marie Scioscia, nutritionist at The Ailey School. While water should be the main source of fluids, Scioscia suggests supplementing with sports drinks, juices, or other beverages that have electrolytes. But the variety on the shelves can be overwhelming. Here is how Scioscia breaks down nutrition labels.

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Check the ingredients: Contents of the drink will be listed in descending order by volume. Watch out for too much sugar (including substitutes like cane juice and high-fructose corn syrup)--though with sports drinks, it will be among the first three ingredients, because active dancers do need some sugar to keep going.

Carbohydrates: Remember, they are not all bad. Six to eight percent of the average sports drink is carbs. They're necessary for fluid and electrolyte replacement.

Calorie content: A cup of fruit juice has approximately 150 calories while a sports drink has 50. Try diluting your beverage--equal parts water and drink. "By diluting, you'll get fewer calories but still benefit from the nutrients," says Scioscia.

These drinks are popular for refueling. But how good are they for you?

Sports Drinks

Scioscia recommends replacement beverages such as Gatorade or Powerade because they combine electrolytes, carbohydrates, and a bit of sugar.

Coconut Water

Most varieties contain fruit juice puree, which helps supply needed carbs and sugars, but not as much sodium and potassium, which the body needs to replace after intense exercise, as a sports drink does.

Vitamin Water

Though popular with many dancers, they don't come high on Scioscia's list. "They make it easy to overdo your vitamin allotment," she says.

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Title Annotation:UP FRONT
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2011
Words:290
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