Exercise, Cold Drinks & Heart Attacks

An exercise regimen is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, the body loses vital fluids during strenuous physical activity, and some doctors and exercise physiologists recommend drinking liquids before, during and after workouts. While it has been rumored that the combination of exercise and cold drinks can produce heart attacks, no medical evidence supports this theory, and the consumption of cold drinks may actually aid in exercising. Also, research suggests that what you drink in conjunction with exercising may be a more critical factor than the temperature.

Cool and Cold

There does not appear to be a link between exercise, cold drinks and heart attacks, according to the Texas Heart Institute. The institute recommends drinking 16 ounces of either cool or cold water an hour or two before you start exercising. Fifteen minutes before you start exercising, consume 16 ounces of either cool water or a sports drink. At 10-minute intervals during exercise, drink 16 ounces of cool water. After exercising, drink 16 ounces of cold or cool water. The institute notes that cool water is preferred over cold water only because the body absorbs cool water faster than cold water.

Cold Water

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The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom conducted a study on the effects of cold versus warm drinks during exercise. Researchers discovered that heart rate before exercise was lower in the participants who consumed cold drinks. In addition, consuming a cold drink before, during and after exercise resulted in less physiological strain, which allowed the test subjects to exercise for a longer period of time than the group consuming warm drinks.

Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are rapid or pounding heartbeats, and while most of them are harmless, MayoClinic.com warns that in some instances, they may be indicative of a medical problem. MayoClinic.com names several factors that may cause heart palpitations, including arduous exercise. Consuming caffeinated beverages or foods can also produce heart palpitations, and combining strenuous exercise and caffeine may result in more severe palpitations. However, MayoClinic.com does not list the temperature of beverages — caffeinated or not — as a contributing factor in heart palpitations or more serious heart conditions.

Energy Drinks and Alcohol

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A study published in “Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging” examined the probability of consuming energy drinks combined with alcohol in sudden cardiac deaths. Researchers selected 10 healthy test subjects and studied changes in their electrocardiograms and heart rates when they exercised after drinking energy drink that contained alcohol. The results revealed no difference between the group that consumed the energy drink and alcohol, the group that consumed the energy drink only, and the group that did not consume anything before exercise. The study did not distinguish between the temperature of the various beverages.

Sodas, Juice and Milk

Regardless of the liquid’s temperature, Texas Heart Institute advises against the consumption of sodas or fruit juice while exercising. These beverages contain too much sugar to be beneficial because they are not easily absorbed by the body. In addition, Joel Stager, physiologist and director of the Human Performance laboratory at Indiana University, recommends drinking a cold glass of chocolate milk after workouts. Stager noted that chocolate milk helps to replenish tired muscles and aids in the exercise recovery process.