Re-hydration is essential after a workout, a race or a training run, or other exercise. But, some commercial sports drinks are very expensive and they have a wide range of ingredients.
Sports drinks are needed to replace the water, and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) lost via sweating. Sports drinks also contain carbohydrates such as sugar and glucose in a palatable form to help replenish the energy reserves in the body that are depleted by the exercise, without causing stomach upsets. However, it is hard to know which sports drinks are the best to quench your thirst and help you revitalize and recover. There are too many choices. Making your own sports drink is a good option to avoid the hype and unnecessary ingredients in commercial varieties. It is cheaper, and you can choose the recipe that suits your needs for the type of exercise that you undertake.
Individual preferences also play a part in terms of taste and formulation. Re-hydration needs to be done carefully to avoid the dangers of drinking too much water. The science of hydration, dehydration and re-hydration is widely debated with many conflicting research findings. It is wise to ONLY drink when THIRSTY, as many people have died drinking too much water, during or after exercise.
This article reviews sports drink formulation research and advice. It also provides a collection of recipes for homemade sports drinks and homemade revitalizing drinks.
There are several points about the formulation:
► Drink ONLY when thirsty. It sounds simple. When doing various vigorous exercise, especially in hot weather, you sweat. Sweat is made of water and electrolytes, such as sodium (salt), and so sweating gradually depletes your body of water and ions, as well as consuming energy. Therefore, a sports drink consisting of water, electrolytes and carbohydrates (for energy) is required to improve performance and to help speed up the recovery process. But over-hydration, drinking too much fluid is a major problem and a real and genuine risk.
► Research has shown that the ideal composition of a sports drinkfor rapid replenishment of fluid and energy, that does not cause stomach upsets, is 4-8% (4-8 g/100 ml) carbohydrate and 23-69 mg/100 ml (10-30 mmol/L) sodium. See this article for more information about this formulation and this article as well.
► Plain and simple water can be a suitable choice for lower-intensity exercise, especially for short workouts, walks or runs, lasting less than 60 minutes and for teams sports. There is nothing wrong with plain water, especially during the exercise itself.
► The inclusion of flavors and sodium and in sports drinks has been shown to make them more palatable and acts as an incentive to help people rehydrate quickly and adequately after exercise.
► The link between muscle cramps and the link to sodium lost in sweat has been contradicted by recent research which suggests crapping is due to over-stimulation of nerve ends in the muscles. There is ongoing debate about this in the scientific literature
►You don't necessarily have to grab a commercial sports drink. Good simple drink choices are available that contain nutrients and carbohydrates in palatable forms, such as :
For the Ginger Water
Prepare the ginger water by cutting the ginger into medium-size slices, and placing in a large pot with the water. Bring water to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and set the pot aside to cool. Add the sugar or honey and sieve before using. To make the sports drink add all the ingredients together in a large pot or pitcher and stir to combine. Refrigerate and transfer to bottles to use as a sports drink substitute.
Pulse all the ingredients in a blender until well mixed and smooth.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large jug. Put the mixture in the refrigerator. Strain after one hour to remove the star anise and then store in the refrigerator.
Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and pulse until well mixed and all the honey is dissolved and well combined. Add ice cubes and store in the refrigerator.
Mix well and set aside in the fridge overnight. Strain the mixture to remove the berries and pulp from the oranges. Keep refrigerated.
Add the lemon juice, tart cherry juice and honey to a 1 quart (1 liter) water bottle. Top up with water. Shake vigorously to incorporate honey into the mixture. Keep chilled before serving.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth and well combined.
Note: Bananas are a good natural source of Potassium
Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor, and pulse for 15-20 seconds, until smooth.
Add ingredients to blender or shaker bottle, and pulse for 15-20 seconds.
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth and well mixed.
Combine all the ingredients in a shaking bottle. Mix and serve with ice.
1 medium banana
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth and well combined.
Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor and strain. Dilute with plain water and serve chilled.
Pulse in a blender and strain through a sieve.
All all ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. Sieve into a jug or bottle.