It turns out you don’t need to drink your Gatorade to benefit from it. Simply rinsing your mouth with a sugary liquid can increase performance, a number of recently released studies suggest.
While researchers are still debating the mechanism behind the boost, they believe that receptors in your mouth increase neural drive in response to the presence of sugar. Essentially, the theory goes, experiencing pleasure can make exercise easier—allowing you to ride longer.
A recent study in the European Journal of Sport Science asked the crucial question: Exactly how long do you need to wait between rinsing and spitting? At least ten seconds, the researchers report. Cyclists given a ten-second-long rinse covered just over a mile more distance in a time trial than those swishing with a placebo.
Not in the mood (or company) to rinse and spit? Pop in a sucking candy. Lim suggests that athletes competing in a time trial start with the sweets to prevent dry mouth and reap some pain-alleviating benefits.