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According to experts, when young players are in for a long haul, consumption of an isotonic sports drink enhances their performance level to a certain degree by providing them energy that is sustained and long term, giving them a competitive edge in team games.
Dr John Sproule, Head of the Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences of the University of Edinburgh's Moray House School of Education who led the research stated, "The importance of hydration to improve performance during exercise for adults is well known.
"This research helps us further understand how adolescents respond to hydration and energy supply during exercise.
"The consumption of a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution was found to significantly enhance endurance capacity during simulated games play, and this could contribute to improved performance in adolescents."
Impact of energy drinks on performance in team games explored
Propelled by the growing popularity of energy drinks, the researchers conducted a study to examine the impact of isotonic sports drinks during team games.
In a randomized double-blind study, they enrolled 15 adolescents aged 12 to 14 years old from George Watson's College in Edinburgh and other schools.
The sports drink used in the study was High5, a six percent carbohydrate-electrolyte solution containing carbohydrate, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
All the participants were asked to perform exercises designed to simulate the demands of games like football, rugby, and hockey, which are characterized by a lot of intense, stop-start activity.
Findings of the study
The researchers then compared the performance of youngsters using High5 with that of players who drank a non-carbohydrate placebo solution
It was noted that the sports drink boosted athletic performance of young players.
Consumption of the isotonic sports drink helped them continue their physical activity for up to 24 percent longer, as opposed to those using the placebo drink.
However, though the energy drink enhanced their endurance capacity it did not help the young people run faster during intermittent exercise in team sports.
The findings are published in the 'European Journal of Applied Physiology.'