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Drink at least a half-cup of water or sports drink every 20 minutes when you exercise. If your workout is less than an hour, choose water. If your workout is longer than an hour, particularly if it's vigorous, switch to a sports drink, according to sports experts at Connecticut College. Sports drinks contain sugar, which provides fuel for your muscles; they also contain sodium and potassium, which help maintain the proper balance of fluids in your body.