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Water Bottles

Stay hydrated while working out with a sports water bottle

Water is an important part of any exercise routine. Replenishing fluids lost through sweat will not only keep you healthy but will also allow you to workout harder or longer so that you can get the most from your exercise. Choosing the right water bottle for your needs can be difficult, but if you arm yourself with some basic knowledge before you start, you'll wind up with the perfect H2O tote.

What Type of Water Bottle Do You Need?

Do you want a pretty water bottle to sit on your desk at work? Do you want cheap water bottles you can throw away or recycle when they get too banged up or you fancy a different color? Are you looking for insulated water bottles to keep liquids hot or cold? Do you prefer metal to plastic (or vice versa)? Narrowing down the possibilities at least a little will help you to focus your search.

You should also consider what type of activity you most want the water bottle for. Does it need to stand out from all the others at the gym or fitness classes? Will you use it mostly between sets of strength-training exercises, or will you use it while in motion during cardio?

If you're a cyclist, be sure to know your bike's bottle holder's exact measurements when buying a bottle to go into it. Better yet, bring the holder with you to the store if you can.

If you're a runner looking for something lightweight and portable (perfect for long runs), consider a "bottle belt," which fits around your waist and holds several small bottles, keeping your beverages out of your hands and the weight evenly distributed on your body.

Hikers might want to consider a water backpack (most notably made by Camelbak), consisting of a flat rubber bladder you wear like a backpack with a drinking hose that attaches to your shoulder strap for quick and easy drinking.

Material Matters

Perhaps the most common products on the portable beverage market are Nalgene water bottles. You've probably seen them everywhere, customized with all types of logos and in all different colors. Originally developed for use in science labs, Nalgene's stiff, plastic-like material is ideal for camping or other outdoor activities because it's strong and resists stains and odors. In recent years, research has indicted that chemicals (called BPAs) that leech from Nalgene polycarbonate bottles when they are used outside of recommended temperature ranges can cause health problems. In response, Nalgene phased out the chemical in question, so bottles sold now are considered safe.

Sports water bottles made from BPA-free plastic or rubber tend to be softer and easier to grip than Nalgene's hard material. They also tend to have squirt spouts, which are easier to drink from than Nalgene's typical screw-on lid.

Stainless steel water bottles are sturdy and fashionable but are more prone to dents and, unless they are double-walled, don't do a good job of insulating.

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