You get homefrom a 30-minute run tired but happy. You’ve really earned a tall glass of juice, right? Maybe not. It’s true that you need to replenish lost fluids after exercise, but it’s very important to think about what you drink after sports. The duration and intensity of your workout determines what is the best drink to rehydrate effectively.
H2: Why hydration is so important in sports
The human body is made up of 50 to 70% water. This is why it is so important to rehydrate soon after working out. Are you drinking enough every day?
Even just 2% dehydration will affect your physical performance. (1) The most common signs of dehydration are thirst, fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, and muscle cramps. That’s why it’s important to remember to drink before you get thirsty! You should also be well hydrated before you start your workout.
Not everyone needs the same amount of fluid to stay hydrated. Use our liquid requirement calculator for guidelines:
For longer workouts (> 60 minutes) the recommendationis 150 ml of fluid every 20 minutes. But when do you really need sports drinks?
What are sports drinks?
Sports drinks are what is called “functional beverages”. Made up of water, carbohydrates, minerals and micronutrients, they hydrate you during exercise and give you energy during longer endurance workouts. Sports drinks can be purchased ready to drink, as effervescent tablets, or as a powder. You can also make them yourself.
When you do a tough workout, you are bound to perspire. When you sweat you lose valuable minerals that your body needs to be able to perform. Make sure the electrolyte drink you select contains the following micronutrients:
- sodium chloride
The right beverage for every workout
Hypotonic drinks contain a lower concentration of carbohydrates and salt than blood. They are a great thirst quencher because they rehydrate you fast.
- mineral water (or tap water)
- cold teas (herbal, fruit)
- non-alcoholic beer
Hypotonic beverages are the right option for casual athletes (moderate exertion < 1 hour).
When the fluid concentration of a beverage is the same as in the blood, it is called isotonic. This kind of sports drink replaces lost fluids the fastest and is the right choice for high endurance, high intensity interval workouts lasting several hours. Isotonic drinks replenish energy and salt.
- Iso drinks
- Mix juices and carbonated mineral water 1:1
Drink isotonic beverages after intense workouts (duration > 1 hour) to replace fluids and energy.
How to make an isotonic sports drink at home
- 70 ml fruit syrup
- 930 ml mineral water (approx. 600 mg sodium per liter)
- 20 g maltodextrin
- 1.5 g salt
Lightly sparkling or still mineral water is easier on your stomach and the better option for sports drinks.
Hypertonic drinks contain a higher concentration of carbohydrates or electrolytes than blood.
- Energy drinks
- Fruit juices,100% – undiluted
- Malt beer
- Soft drinks
Due to their high sugar content hypertonic drinks are great for filling up your glycogen stores, but can’t substitute liquids (after intense exercise > 1 hour) for casual athletes.
Good to know:
Sports drinks shouldn’t be carbonated or contain alcohol or caffeine.
Deciding which sports drink is right for you depends on your needs. Body weight, temperature, and physical condition play an important role here. It’s always a good idea to hydrate with isotonic drinks before exercising and when you are doing a long, tough workout.