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Ask the Expert: What do you recommend for hydration?

Ask the St. Elizabeth Expert: What do you recommend for hydration? (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - As the weather warms up and you move your activities outdoors, there is a word of caution to stay well hydrated from sports medicine experts.

The team at St. Elizabeth Sports Medicine says that right now, as temperatures outside are warming but not too hot, is the best training time to help your body ease into outdoor exercise.

They also have suggestions to stay hydrated: From sports drinks to water to pickle juice.

“I agree that our main emphasis needs to be on nice cold water, the longer the event there is some evidence that the sports drinks can have some benefit, not just from the electrolytes but the carbohydrate and the flavoring in a sports drink in some people encourages more fluid intake and that can be a good thing, so a lot of programs offer both but I think the emphasis needs to be on both,” said Dr. Michael Miller from St. Elizabeth Sports Medicine.

Dr. Michael Miller heads the Sports Medicine Team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. He says athletic trainers are the best people to ask about how much hydration is needed.

Endurance events that are greater than a few hours tend to lend to a need to replenish nutrients as well as hydration.

As for the pickle juice question…

“There's more anecdotal evidence for pickle juice than we have science, the little literature that is out there, I don't think that pickle juice, if it does help with muscle cramping, it's probably through some other mechanism, and I’m not sure we've been able to demonstrate that through science,” said Dr. Miller.

So drink water as much as possible before, during and after athletic events and don't depend on any one beverage to replenish what the body needs in total, as Dr. Miller suggests.

As for whether pickle juice is harmful, here's his thoughts on that:

“If an athlete is still following really good fluid and nutritional guidelines, good established fluid nutritional guidelines and they want to add a little pickle juice, I don't think that's harmful. My concern would be if they abandoned more healthy fluid guidelines and substitute pickle juice, then i think we are going to get in trouble,” said Dr. Miller.

As always we invite your questions for providers at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in our Ask the Expert section.

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