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Eating energy gels can help recreational endurance athletes go the extra mile. Athletes who participate in activities like hiking, jogging or cycling rely on the energy stored in their muscles to perform. After a while that energy is used up. This is when new energy gels can help.

"Studies have shown that sports drinks taken during activity get into the bloodstream and provide an energy boost," said Dr. John Cianca, a sports medicine expert at Baylor College of Medicine. "The gels, which contain even more sugar and carbohydrates, have the same effect." That can make a big difference on a two-hour hike or in between sets of tennis.

But Cianca says it is best to experiment with the gels, which are puddinglike in texture, during a short workout first to ensure they do not upset your stomach.

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