After training, replacing water plus electrolyte losses is crucial for optimal recovery. You continue to lose fluid through sweat and urine even after finishing your session, so aim to replace losses by 150%. In practise, this means if you weigh 1kg less after your session, you should drink 1.5L over the next 2-6 hours (1kg loss indicates 1L fluid deficit).
So What Should You Drink?
- When exercising at a low intensity or for a short duration (<60min) plain water.
- When exercising at a high intensity or an extended amount of time (>60minutes) sports drinks are useful.
Sports drinks are fluids that contain carbohydrate, electrolytes like sodium, potassium (some also include magnesium) and flavour. Sometimes they also have vitamins, minerals, protein and herbs.
Benefits of Sports drinks
- Convenient source of both fluid and carbohydrate (energy)
- Contain electrolytes like sodium that are lost in sweat
- Sodium enhances the flavour of the drink and stimulates your thirst mechanism leading to increased consumption of fluid
- The presence of sodium also helps the movement of carbohydrate and fluid from the stomach into your cells where it is needed
- The presence of sodium reduces the volume of urine output post exercise
Keep safe in the sun – use sunscreen, a hat and hydrate!