Sports drinks It has become a staple not only for elite athletes but for the active group that loves to pursue it. It’s a standard pick-up service at your local store or supermarket, whether you’re training for marathonTakes to riseOr just hydrating after a late night outside. But not all sports drinks are created equal – there is actually a specific time and place to use them for optimal health and hydration.
Sports drinks generally help restore this energy through carbohydrates, sugar and a certain amount of electrolytes – which are for sports and activities in which you excrete electrolytes and burn energy, and help restore this energy through carbohydrates, sugar and a certain amount of electrolytes – mainly sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride . Combining both carbohydrates and electrolytes during intense exercise or in extreme temperatures can help combat dehydration, plump glycogen stores, and delay fatigue.
Keep in mind that water and electrolyte needs are highly variable based on the individual. Heredity plays a role in the rate of sweating, as well as activity level, intensity, duration, and environment. To find out your true hydration needs, consult a sports nutritionist for a sweat test to measure your individual sweat rate as well as the sodium concentration in your sweat. Some of us are saltier sweaters.
What to look for in a sports drink
Electrolytes: When you exercise and sweat, you lose not only fluids, but also salts. The average athlete loses 1 to 3 liters of sweat per hour. The main electrolytes lost in sweat are sodium and chloride, with potassium, magnesium, and calcium present in smaller amounts. Depending on the intensity and duration of exercise, the environment (such as season and humidity), and the rate of individual perspiration, there are different amounts of electrolytes required. The good news is that there are plenty of options on the market from low levels of electrolytes to highly concentrated electrolyte blends. The choice depends on your individual needs.
Carbohydrates (calories/energy): The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that individuals who engage in vigorous exercise (for one hour or more) consider taking carbohydrate-containing sports drinks, especially if they sweat heavily. The choice depends, again, on your activity level, calorie expenditure, and energy needs for exercise. If your workout is for an hour or less, you probably don’t need a lot of carbohydrates and can stick to your electrolyte compositions. However, if you’ve been exercising for more than an hour — such as a marathon — you’ll need to choose a drink with higher amounts of carbohydrates to fuel your workout.
Make your own sports drink
You don’t always have to head to the store. This easy and effective DIY sports drink makes about 9 cups:
- 8 cups of cold water
- 2 tablespoons honey or aloe vera
- 1 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt or pure sea salt
- Half a teaspoon of calcium and magnesium powder
- Half a cup of fresh pineapple juice
- juice of 2 lemons
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Pour 1 cup of water into a large saucepan.
- Add honey, salt, calcium and magnesium powder.
- Place the saucepan over a low heat and whisk until the ingredients are dissolved.
- Remove it from the heat and let it return to room temperature.
- Add fresh juices to the mixture in the saucepan.
- Pour in the remaining seven cups of water and mix.
- Refrigerate to the desired temperature
Home elixir isn’t your favorite thing? Check out the best sports drinks you can buy right now.
Jordan MazurMD, MS, RD, is the nutrition director for the San Francisco 49ers.
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