An icy sports drink is more than just a clever way to stay cool on a hot day. It turns out freezing your sports drink actually boosts your endurance during a workout, according to a new study.
Australian scientists gave sports drinks to 10 men, half of whom got it as a slushy and the other half as a regular liquid at a neutral temperature. As the guys exercised at 62 percent of their VO2 max for 90 minutes on a gym bike, they helped themselves to the provided sports drink.
The result was that the men who drank the slushy version not only pedaled faster, but also perceived less exertion. Overall, their endurance was improved 10 percent by drinking the frozen sports drink.
Scientists speculate that the icy drink works by helping regular body temperature. It absorbs heat from the stomach and digestive system, helping keep overall body temperature down. That's important, because exercise-related increases in body temperature tend to impact motivation and increase central fatigue. Also, they think having ice in the mouth may create what amounts to a beneficial sensory distraction—it's something to focus on other than the intensity of the workout.
This reaffirms past research that showed an ice-cold sports drink boosted endurance over a room temperature one. Stick your sports drinks in the freezer a bit before exercise for a big endurance boost.