All runners know what it’s like to have an intense thirst, especially on a warm day. Most of us will turn to our favorite brightly colored sports drink or just plain water. However, there are a whole host of alternatives that are great for before, during, and after a run. You may be surprised by some of them, but all are proven to be beneficial.
Coconut water is known for its light almond flavor. It doesn’t contain any of the fat found in coconut milk and has high levels of potassium and sugar. It’s available in a variety of flavors, with some brands adding orange, passion fruit, or mango to the nutritious drink. The potassium and sodium work together to help your muscles to contract and relax optimally. It’s perfect for a pre-run drink as it contains enough carbohydrates for about a 60-minute run. We are also seeing benefits for people that are drinking coconut water daily, regardless of whether they have been for a run or not. Oh, and it tastes pretty great too.
This drink is perfect for runners who suffer with aches and pains. The high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties help minimize muscle damage and decrease inflammation. A small glass is great as a post-run remedy.
Vegetable juice is a great way to pack nutrients back into your body post-run, and it’s great for your health at any time really. A British Journal of Nutrition study discovered that high levels of lycopene, an antioxidant found in drinks with plenty of tomato in them, protects you muscles from oxidative stress caused by exercise. 100% vegetable juice contains up to five times the amount of sodium, and around fifteen times the amount of potassium found in a sports drink.
Iced Green Tea
Green tea helps to reduce muscle damage and can speed up your recovery. As an excellent source of catechins, it will also help to fight heart disease and cancer. While many drink green tea as a hot drink, an iced green tea can be a great alternative to water on short runs, and is also equally beneficial pre or post-run. The little boost to your performance and endurance from the caffeine is just an added bonus.
Chocolate milk is a great drink to enjoy post-run. It contains the right amounts of protein and carbs to help tired muscles recover. A study by Joel Stager Ph.D. even showed that drinking chocolate milk post exercise doesn’t just speed up recovery, but also increases the time until you reach exhaustion during subsequent exercise sessions. In both of these categories chocolate milk performed better than water or a sports drink.
Whatever your beverage of choice is for your recovery and rehydration, mixing it up a little can be beneficial. It’s hard to get everything you need from a single drink, so a little variety depending on the type of workout you’ve done can help to provide a broader range of vitamins and nutrients for you body. Experiment with different drinks and see how each one helps you.