P lain old water is the usual go-to for hydration after strenuous workouts, but it might not necessarily be the best option. While it does matter more than anything that you make sure to drink enough fluids after you exercise or play sports to replenish the stock you just lost via sweating, the drink that you use for this purpose matters almost as much. You not only avoid dehydration and its effects, but you will benefit from quicker, proper recovery if you simply rehydrate properly.
In this article, we want to go over some of the best drinks that you should use after exercise and sports. These drinks don’t only rehydrate but assist in rapid recovery and can even improve other health aspects, as you will immediately learn. So, if you want to make the best of your workout routines and get in shape, make sure that you stock up on the following hydration drinks to fill up on when you’re done exercising.
Before we start listing the best post-workout hydration drinks, we first want to remind you that hydration during exercise is just as important. In fact, you should take rehydration breaks every 15 to 20 minutes when you train at a high intensity. The liquid intake will make up for some of the lost water in your body and help you push forward to make it through the whole exercise session without losing consistency.
Whether you are a professional athlete or just a normal person who exercises to get in shape, build muscle mass, or simply upkeep good health, alkaline water is the best post-workout drink you could opt for, hands down. You can pick between artificially made alkaline water or naturally alkaline spring water, but we recommend the former because the latter is not as easily accessible. Moreover, if it’s not filtered properly, spring water might contain pollutants that would otherwise do significant harm when ingested.
Alkaline or high-pH mineralized water produced by top-tier water ionizing machines is your best option since the water is pre-filtered before being passed through the electrolysis process where the pH level is raised. These machines also increase the antioxidant properties of the water, which makes alkaline water an effective tool for combating aging signs too. Of course, there’s the obvious perk that you enjoy it on demand rather than having to take trips to the store to restock on water bottles. This would be more expensive in the long run, it would be detrimental to the environment, and simply bothersome because of the wasted time.
But what exactly makes the high-pH water better than its neutral counterpart? It’s simple – the higher hydration efficiency. This unique property is granted by the small size of the water clusters. When you drink alkaline water, your cells absorb it much quicker and easier, so you make up for the lost water in a more optimal manner. Furthermore, according to clinical trials, alkaline mineralized water is more beneficial compared to other hydration means for combat sports athletes. The significant muscle buffering capacity of high-pH water makes it the perfect means to rehydrate after the strenuous anaerobic workout to improve acid-base balance and amp your performance for the next training session.
In a 2012 study, researchers established that coconut water is just as hydrating for post-exercise use as professional sports beverages and regular water. It does contain less sodium when paralleled to sports drinks, so you have to diversify, don’t always rely on coconut water after you exercise. However, while it might not contain optimum amounts of sodium, it does contain potassium and magnesium. The natural sugars in it help too, giving you a boost of energy.
Sweet and tasty, watermelon water can prove to be a great ally for post-workout muscle pain and soreness relief. The amino acid that the fruit contains and we can thank for the aforementioned benefits is L-citrulline. Besides this, it also contains potent antioxidants, including lycopene, which is known to neutralize free radicals and regulate blood pressure. Moreover, you get approximately 22 grams of simple carbohydrates after you drink a single glass of it, taking care of those tired muscles and replacing the glycogen to get your energy levels back.
According to research conducted on skilled male athletes after rigurous sprints, green tea increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation thanks to its thermogenic properties. The high percentages of antioxidants also help reduce the sensation of sore muscles and aid with muscle strength recovery after strenuous workouts.
A study released in 2009 highlights the efficiency of cherry juice when it comes to muscle function recovery after marathon running. What makes it so efficient is the tart juice’s ability to increase antioxidants and diminish lipid peroxidation, as well as inflammation. It’s the ideal drink for casual workouts and endurance athletes. Just make sure that you get the unsweetened version.
Veggies are important sources of nutrients that keep our bodies working optimally. So it doesn’t get any healthier than drinking a cup of veggie juice when your workout routine is over. Aside from rehydrating, your body intakes minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins that it needs for muscle recovery and more. Leafy greens, carrots, and beets are some of the best vegetables that you can mix to make the perfect post-workout juice for their healthy composition.
The good news is that chocolate milk isn’t just delicious and filled with carbohydrates, but it is better than sports drinks for achieving rehydration post-exercise. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely want to replace that plain water or the expensive yet not so tasty sports drink you usually go for with chocolate milk. It has a high potential for recovering tired muscles while taking care of your desire to consume something sweet, so there’s nothing more you could ask for.
When you exercise, no matter the intensity of the workout, you lose fluids. Rehydration post-workout is of the utmost importance since it serves the purpose of restoring the electrolyte balance that you lose when you sweat. A tool that comes in handy to track hydration is the body fat monitor since it can indicate the total body water. Get a scale that provides this reading and check the body water level before and after the workout session to make sure you properly rehydrate and make up for the water loss.
Improper handling of post-workout hydrating doesn’t only expose you to dehydration but can affect your future performance when exercising or playing sports. In fact, a study conducted on basketball players shows that dehydration higher than 2% impairs aerobic performance. Players sprint and move laterally slower, and their vigilance-related attention is reduced. Other effects observed during the trial include cognitive performance drops and a negative toll on postural balance.
Hydration is your best means of recovery after you exercise, but don’t forget that you have to refuel before and during training too. Make sure that you drink approximately 20 ounces of water or any other hydrating drink 1-2 hours before you begin training, and about 10 ounces 15 minutes prior to the starting point. As aforementioned, don’t skip on hydration during the exercise session either. Don’t let more than 20 minutes pass without drinking about 8 ounces of your preferred hydrating beverage.
Strenuous workouts imply damage to muscle tissue and a lot of fluid loss via sweating. This is why hydration plays such a pivotal role in the life of an active person, assisting in recovery and dehydration prevention after you complete intense workout sessions. As you can see, there are sufficient options to pick from when it comes to the post-workout hydration drink that you should go for. What we recommend is that you mix them, don’t stick with a single drink for your whole life. All of the drinks we listed have their own set of benefits and aid in recovery while boosting health stats, so make sure that you routinely switch up your drink selection to get the best results.