What to Drink When Exercising

When you exercise, it's important that you drink enough liquid to replace everything that you are sweating out. So many people turn to sports drinks for their hydration, but is that actually the right way to go? If you want to exercise properly, it's important to know what you should be drinking…

What to Drink

For the average workout, a bottle of water is all you need to replenish the fluids that you have lost. If you work out for 30 to 90 minutes, you'll find that you don't lose a whole lot of electrolytes, but you lose mostly sweat. Water should be enough to help hydrate you, and you won't need to drink any of the fancy sports drinks.

When your exercise runs longer than 2 or 3 hours, that's when you need to seriously consider drinking something that has both calories and electrolytes. You'll have used a whole lot of energy, and thus it will be important for you to replace that energy - the calories in your drink. You'll also want to restore a healthy balance to the sodium and potassium in your body, and that's where the electrolytes come in handy.

Interestingly enough, the best thing to drink after a tough workout is chocolate milk. It's one of the best-balanced drinks, as it contains protein, carbs, a bit of fat, and plenty of electrolytes. You'll fuel your body with most of the nutrients that it needs to keep working properly, and you'll find that it will give you plenty of energy. However, drinking chocolate milk during your workout can be tough on your body, so it's best to wait until after.

How Much to Drink

If you're a person that tends to sweat a lot, you should try to drink a bit more water to ensure that you don't get dehydrated. As a rule of thumb, your goal should be to drink at least 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. That will help you to get all of the fluid that your body needs, and will prevent dehydration from setting in.

Be careful not to drink too much fluid at once, especially if you're doing cardio. That can lead to cramps and stomach aches, which could make your workout all but impossible to continue. Just make sure not to overdo it with the water, and you should have no problems.

Post-Workout Drinks

Once you finish your workout, your best option will be chocolate milk. You'll give your body a balance of nutrients, and it will help to replenish all of the energy that you have just burned off doing your workout. You'll find that a cold glass of chocolate milk is the perfect balance of carbs to protein, and it will ensure that you finish strong.

If chocolate milk isn't your thing, you should opt for either coconut milk/water or a sports drink. Coconut milk/water is loaded with healthy nutrients, and sports drinks are made with the right balance of potassium and sodium.

Don't Forget to Drink Before

At least 15 to 20 minutes before you start your workout, have a couple of glasses of water to ensure that you're properly hydrated. If you're doing intense exercise, you should try to avoid drinking too much water. If your exercise is very low intensity but will last for a long time, you should actually start drinking water a couple of hours in advance of the event. This is good advice for those who are going to run a marathon or participate in similar events. However, make sure not to drink water too close to your exercise, as that could cause stomach problems.

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