It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day but it’s especially important to replenish your body with
fluids after exercise, particularly after periods of intense physical activity or exercise performed in high temperatures. But what’s the best way to hydrate?
Water might seem like the obvious rehydration choice but there are other options.
Patrick Birmingham, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore, discusses the pros and cons of some after-exercise rehydration options:
Water. Every system of the human body requires water to function, so when you exercise and lose water by perspiring, you need to replenish what you lost. On average, every individual needs to consume approximately 1.9 liters of water a day
but this amount increases when you factor in exercise, especially high-intensity exercise.
Pros: Unlike some sports drinks and coconut water, there are no calories in water so you won’t undo any of the good accomplished during your workout. After short, moderate workouts, water should be sufficient for rehydration.
Cons: After intense workouts lasting more than an hour, your body loses not just water but important electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and these electrolytes will need to be replenished too. In this situation, water might not cut it.
Coconut water. Coconut water is all the rage but is this “natural” source any better than a bottle of water or a sports drink when it comes to rehydration after a workout?
Pros: Depending on the brand, coconut water has fewer calories, less sodium and more potassium than the typical sports drink. Generally, it also has no added colors and only natural flavors (from other juices, for instance).
Cons: After an intense workout, the most important electrolyte you need to replenish is sodium. Coconut water has less sodium than most sports drinks, which means it might not be able to do the heavy lifting after a particularly intense
workout. Some coconut waters are enhanced with extra sodium but that can alter the flavor and make consumption less pleasant.
Sports drinks. Most popular sports drinks provide approximately 13-19 grams of carbohydrates and between 80-120 milligrams of sodium.
Pros: Sports drinks are made especially to replace the electrolytes you lose during long, arduous workouts, so they should be your go-to source on high-intensity days. The tasty flavors mean you’re likely to consume enough when you need
it most. Pediatric rehydration mixtures like Pedialyte are also a great option. They have just the right combination of electrolytes and carbohydrates with less sugar.
Cons: Many sports drinks have added artificial flavors, colors and unnecessary sugars. Make sure to check for lower-calorie versions so you aren’t undoing all your hard work at the end of your workout.
All summer long, NorthShore will be at athletic events in the community to help you find out how you can
Unleash Your Inner Athlete. Come to the NorthShore tent and enter to win free entry into upcoming summer races and/or a grand price of a personal activity monitor. For a schedule of events where
you can find NorthShore, click
It's finally time to get that grill out of the garage and enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures with your friends
and family. Enjoy it but it's also important you doing so with safety in mind. Jerry Leikin, MD, Medical Toxicologist at NorthShore, offers the following instructions for
ensuring you are observing proper food preparation and grill safety:
What are some of your favorite healthy foods to grill?
Whether you’re training for a big race or involved in minimal daily physical activity, drinking water is essential
to keeping your body hydrated and healthy. For most people the recommendation is to drink eight glasses of water. However, if you are an endurance athlete training for a marathon or triathlon, this amount of water may not be sufficient to refuel your body.
Brian Shortal, MD,
Cardiologist at NorthShore, marathoner and triathlete, gives his advice on what endurance athletes can do to stay properly hydrated:
To view tips on how to train for a race in the summer heat—including avoiding certain times, monitoring your weight and urine—view our previous post.
What do you drink to stay hydrated after a strenuous workout?
Summer is a great time to be outdoors and to take advantage of the weather. With the temperature changes and increased sunshine,
come some summer safety concerns.
Julie Holland, MD, a pediatrician at NorthShore, shares a few quick tips on how you can ensure your family stays safe this summer:
What do you do to keep your family safe and healthy during the summer? What are some of your favorite family activities?