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Do you know that post-workout feeling when your sweat is dripping down your forehead, your heart beating like crazy, and your muscles seemingly growing from your shirtsleeves? That could be the pump doing its thing. The muscle pump happens when blood rushes through your muscles, swelling them up and making your skin tight from fullness.
But before you glance toward the mirror and appreciate the gains, do yourself a favor by drinking up and replenishing the water you’ve sweat out during your workout routine. Surely, you wouldn’t want to feel lightheaded due to dehydration, right?
Read on to find useful tips and healthier drink choices to keep you hydrated and refreshed after your workout sessions.
How to Stay Hydrated?
During an exercise, your body produces excessive sweat to make up for the temperature imbalance in your body. But as body liquid or sweat evaporates from your skin, there’s a high chance that you might get dehydrated, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Dehydration during or after exercise can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and heart palpitations — and these things could badly affect your physical and mental performance when working out.
- Plan ahead. If you’re planning to do strenuous workouts, start drinking water early in the day to replenish your body’s reserves. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, drinking 16 to 20 ounces (oz) of fluid 4 hours before working out is essential to prevent dehydration, especially if you're doing intense activities.
- During your workout, it is helpful to drink 8 oz of water every 15 minutes, Michigan State University reports.
- Try to start exercising during the coolest time of the day or at night to prevent sweating profusely.
- Always bring a water bottle with you whenever you’re working out. Make sure to replace the water loss in your body.
We understand that after a sweaty workout, sometimes you crave something more than just plain water to quench your thirst. So here's a list of refreshing alternatives in no particular order, feel free to choose whichever one takes your fancy.
Top 5 Healthy Drink Ideas
You often hear athletes talk about electrolytes, but what are they really? Electrolytes are essential minerals that your body needs to perform well, especially if you live an active lifestyle. They help with muscle contraction, fluid balance, and nerve impulses to keep your body at its best when doing strenuous physical activities.
When you sweat during exercise, you lose a significant amount of electrolytes in your body. The most common electrolytes are chloride, potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. If you lack electrolytes, you might experience disruptions in your sports or workout performance like muscle cramping, headaches, dizziness, and weakness.
Tip: If you’re looking for a natural source of electrolytes, fruits such as bananas, melons, and oranges also contain healthy levels of electrolytes.
Who doesn’t love coconut water? Aside from being refreshing and delicious, it is a good source of electrolytes that help keep your body hydrated. Also, it contains natural sugar which aids in restoring energy.
Coconut water has less sodium and sugar than energy drinks, making it one of the best post-workout drinks after a sweaty exercise, The Ohio State University reports.
Tip: To ensure freshness, it's important to refrigerate coconut water once extracted from the fruit.
Vegetables are a no-fail wonder food because they are rich in essential nutrients such as fiber, potassium, as well as vitamins A and C. They are known for lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases, and boosting gut health, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Drinking vegetable juice after a workout can aid in replenishing your body with essential vitamins and minerals that are needed to repair your muscles after an intense workout session. Additionally, it can help promote muscle recovery and rehydration, which can keep you energized and feeling great.
Tip: To prevent bloating, it’s best to drink vegetable juice on an empty stomach, instead of with your meals.
If vegetable drinks are not right up your alley, try blending your favorite fruits in a smoothie! Not only are they full of flavors, but most fruits are also largely composed of water and have minerals that help rehydrate your body, as reported by Utah State University.
Moreover, fruits such as bananas, raspberries, and apples are rich in fiber and may help with promoting improved gut health.
Don’t have an appetite after working out? Smoothies made with nutritious ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, or nuts, can be a meal alternative as long as it provides essentials like protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Tip: You may even mix it with your protein powder of choice for that extra health kick!
This is the perfect easy-to-make drink when regular water feels dull to you. It’s as hydrating as water, too! Essentially, a cup of tea comprises 98% water and 2% tea.
Teas such as green tea, black tea, ginger, or chamomile contain antioxidants that are beneficial for muscle recovery. If you want to relieve muscle soreness, tea can be significantly helpful.
It is also low in calories, which promotes a faster metabolism — making it the best companion for losing weight.
Tip: Try to avoid caffeinated tea as it can lead to further dehydration.
Hydration after working out is as important as having a proper form when lifting heavy weights. Replenishing the water loss in your body is essential for recovery, repairing muscle tissues, and preventing muscle cramps — whether it be through drinking water or a healthy smoothie.
Although hydration is a key component of post-workout care, there are other methods to consider for muscle rejuvenation. For instance, using a RENPHO massage gun can expedite recovery and provide relief to tired muscles.
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