Studies show that 75% of Americans are dehydrated. Feeling sluggish? Unexplainable headache? Trouble focusing? You may fall into this category and not even know it. Without proper hydration, your body and mind can’t perform to their full potential.
Our bodies lose fluids just in the normal course of activity each day. Depending on your size, 2-4 liters of fluid should be replenished through the beverages and foods in your meals. But, it doesn’t seem like most people are accomplishing this objective.
For athletes, the stakes can be higher. Athletes lose even more fluids through perspiration, and small changes in hydration levels can have significant impacts on physical output. Hydration in sports and exercise should be intentional...and, of course, healthy. Need some guidance? Follow these four tips when choosing the best hydration drink for your post-workout routine.
Keep Hydration Clean
The sports drink industry is filled with products that claim to be the best for hydration. However, many of these options are filled with sugar, dyes and other chemicals our bodies don’t need. Let’s be real...does the neon blue color really help? (The answer is “no”.)
The most clean hydration drink you can choose is water: it’s pure, without any artificial ingredients. Our bodies are made up of 60% water, and replenishing with water (and not junk) would be one of our most logical hydration tips.
Some people just don’t like the taste of plain water. For that reason, they don’t drink enough of it. Research also confirms that flavor can impact the amount of fluid we choose to drink. That’s no surprise because, as humans, we like to listen to our taste buds.
The draw of many sugary sports hydration drinks is that they taste good. But the empty calories, along with the other bad stuff, isn’t worth it. If you’re seeking flavor, look for natural sweeteners and low sugar content. Satisfy your taste buds without derailing your fitness.
In addition, the right blend of electrolytes can also improve the taste of water without any calories. Spring waters or electrolyte enhanced waters can feel more satisfying to drink. The same is true for oxygenated waters: the process of infusing oxygen in the water produces a smoothness and crispness that’s really appealing.
Bottom line, don’t let taste prevent you from proper hydration. If plain water isn’t for you, explore your healthy options.
Look for Electrolytes
Water alone may not provide your body all that it needs for recovery. Hydration is also aided by the replacement of minerals, called electrolytes, that are lost when you sweat. These minerals, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, help to maintain the balance of fluids in your cells and impact muscle function. They are so important, we wrote a whole article about them.
Post-workout, muscle cramping is a sure sign of an electrolyte deficiency and consuming salt or potassium, for example, can provide faster recovery. Many turn to electrolyte-enhanced drinks or powders to prevent these types of deficiencies and ensure important minerals are replaced. If you go this route, don’t compromise your standards. Skip the sugar and fake stuff and opt for natural ingredients...read your labels. Your body will thank you.
Convenience Is Key
Let’s be honest, convenience matters in most things, including your choice for a hydration drink. For example, some health and wellness sites recommend drinking milk after exercise. Milk has water for fluid replacement, calcium and sodium for electrolytes, and even protein for rebuilding muscle tissue. (Sound like a commercial?) But, it’s kind of hard to store an ice-cold glass of milk in your gym bag. So, milk may not be your personal go-to.
There are a variety of other convenient options, including bottled or canned drinks. Single-use packaged powders may get the highest marks, though. They do fit nicely in a gym bag, or even in your pocket, and you can pour them into your favorite reusable water bottle to drink anywhere.
For a hydration drink that checks all the boxes, try O2 Hydration Mix.
--It's clean - no artificial ingredients and only one gram of sugar (keto-friendly too)
--The taste is delicious and natural - Peach Pear and Pomegranate Guava
--It has lots of electrolytes - 2.5x the amount in the leading sports drinks
--It's super convenient - take a packet (or two) on-the-go
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty...it will be too late! Plan ahead and stock up O2 Hydration Sticks. Maintain good hydration and good health.