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The 8 Best Ways to Rehydrate After a Workout

The 8 Best Ways to Rehydrate After a Workout

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Try to drink about 8 to 10 ounces of fluids for every 15 minutes of exercise


Regular exercise can lead to dehydration: these are the healthiest drinks to help.

During exercise or exertion, maintaining water balance is crucial. Engaging in physical activity leads to thermogenesis, or heat production, and when sweat evaporates from the skin, this allows body heat to be dissipated to keep normal body temperature in check. However, this process also results in dehydration. Severe dehydration can have grave consequences such as cardiac arrest or stroke.

The 8 Best Ways to Rehydrate After a Workout (Slideshow)

On average, loss of sweat is equal to about one liter of fluid for each hour of exercise. Not only is water lost, but so are electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, and mainly sodium. That is why sweat is so salty.

Offsetting fluid loss is essential to preventing dehydration. A general rule of thumb is to drink about 8 to 10 ounces of fluids for every 15 minutes of exercise. Also make sure you are hydrated prior to exercise, a workout, or any strenuous activity for that matter.

While exercising, avoid energy drinks laden with high fructose corn syrup and artifical colors, caffeinated drinks, sugary drinks such as soda, coffee drinks, and anything alcoholic. These beverages are not beneficial when exercising. In fact, they can actually harm the body and impede recovery from exertion due to ingredients such as caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup. Caffeine is a diuretic that can be a factor contributing towards dehydration, while some sports drinks have toxic chemicals such as BVO, according to The Mayo Clinic. Sodas? They are just plain bad news. Period.

Before a long run, a race, or a training workout, drink plenty of fluids. The day before an event, drink extra water, 100 percent juice and/or other nutrient-rich fluids such as nonfat or 1 percent milk. Monitor the color of your urine. The goal is pale yellow, not clear.

The morning of the event, drink 2 cups (8 oz.) of fluid two hours beforehand. This gives your kidneys enough time to process the liquids, giving you sufficient time to empty your bladder before the start of your event.

Thirty minutes prior to the beginning of the athletic event, drink another 5 to 10 oz. of water or sports drink. One oz. of fluid equals about a medium mouthful of water.

You Asked: What’s the Best Way to Rehydrate—Besides Drinking Water?

W hen workouts leave you drenched, or when it’s so hot outside that your clothes cling to your body like Saran wrap, start drinking. If you don’t rehydrate, your body and brain can suffer mild dehydration can tank your mood, concentration and energy levels.

But not all fluids are created equal&mdashand water isn’t always the best beverage for the job.

&ldquoWhen we drink, fluids are not available to the body immediately but take some time to be absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream,&rdquo says Bridget Benelam, a public health researcher with the British Nutrition Foundation. How fast this happens is determined, in part, by what’s in the fluid.

That&rsquos because when you sweat, water isn&rsquot the only thing your body is losing.

Human sweat contains many different metabolites, including lactate, amino acids and fats, as well as sodium. &ldquoDrinks containing some carbohydrate in the form of sugars and electrolytes, usually sodium, can be absorbed by the body more quickly than pure water and therefore allow rehydration to happen more rapidly,&rdquo Benelam says. Think Gatorade.

On the other hand, even though your body is losing sodium and some other things as you sweat, water alone really will get the job done for the typical sweaty adult, says Lawrence Armstrong, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut. &ldquoVirtually no studies have shown benefits of sport drinks or carbohydrate-containing beverages unless you&rsquore exercising continuously for more than 50 or 60 minutes,&rdquo he says.

Assuming you eat normally and aren’t on a super-restrictive cleanse or elimination diet, you&rsquore probably not at risk for any sodium or electrolyte shortages, Armstrong explains. The volume of liquid you consume is the important thing. &ldquoDuring exercise, the average person ought to be drinking about a half a quart of water every 30 minutes, or a full quart in an hour, to replace the fluids they&rsquore losing,&rdquo he says. (If you&rsquore worried you&rsquore not drinking enough H20, monitor your urine. If it&rsquos dark yellow, you need to drink more.)

But if you&rsquore the type who does exercise vigorously for long periods, &ldquoa complex source of nutrients is likely to have a positive impact on fluid retention,&rdquo says Ben Desbrow, associate professor of sports nutrition at Griffith University&rsquos School of Allied Health Sciences in Australia. Desbrow&rsquos research has compared different milk-based beverages to water and sports drinks, with a surprising champ.

&ldquoMilk is an ideal recovery beverage,&rdquo he says. &ldquoIt is well retained and is a great source of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals.&rdquo

More research backs him up on this. A 2016 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that milk&mdashfull-fat, but especially skim&mdashwas more hydrating than water, sports drinks, coffee, tea and several other common beverages. Sports drinks do get the job done&mdashespecially if you&rsquove really been pushing yourself and you&rsquore sweating heavily. But milk outperforms them.

You don&rsquot have to pound a half-gallon of it after a workout. Getting some nutrients along with your H2O is the important thing, Desbrow says. You could drink an 8-ounce glass of milk followed by water. Or, if you&rsquore not interested in dairy, drinking water with a little food will help your body absorb more water in a short period of time.

You can take a different route to rehydration, too. Rather than worry about what you&rsquore drinking, just make sure your beverage is accompanied by a bite to eat, like a granola bar or a sandwich. Another recent study found that the type of beverage you reach for to rehydrate doesn&rsquot really matter if you&rsquore drinking it with food.

16 Recipes That Hydrate

Up your water intake this season with these delicious recipes that are rich in H2O.

8 Post-Workout Juice Recipes

Fruit and vegetables have the highest water content—as much as 90 percent or more—compared to most foods. One of the easiest ways to reap their abundant hydration and overall nutrition is to juice them.

For example, one cup of carrot or celery juice provides the same nutrients found in five cups of those same vegetables chopped up. The eight juice recipes below will help you pack in more plants and stay hydrated.

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Chicken, Arugula and Strawberry Panzanella

Sodium and potassium are the two primary electrolytes in your body. Keeping them in balance is the key to better hydration, according to Donna P. Feldman, a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in sports nutrition.

Strawberries are 91 percent water and are also rich in potassium. Most store-bought rotisserie chickens contain sodium, so you'll get plenty from the poultry portion of this dish. Arugula is 90 percent water.

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Hearty Healthy, Spicy Soup

Soup is up to the hydration task. Water creates the base for this recipe, which includes plenty of hydrating vegetables, including celery (96 percent water), cabbage (90 percent water) and carrots (87 percent water).

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Roasted Balsamic Radishes

Radishes get their crunch from their high water content—nearly 95 percent. They're also loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect the body against cancer.

This radish recipe makes a stellar substitute side dish for potatoes.

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Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

In addition to their oxidative stress-lowering capabilities, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli are also adept in the hydration department. Cauliflower contains 92 percent water and broccoli contains 91 percent. This farro salad builds in both.

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Rosemary-Honey Lemonade

If you find plain water boring, add lemon to it. The citrus not only enhances flavor, it also provides potassium, which aids in hydration.

This lemonade takes basic lemon-water up a level with the addition of fresh rosemary and a honey-based simple syrup. Honey is an excellent pre-workout energy source that doesn't induce hypoglycemia, according to a study at the University of Memphis Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory, led by Dr. Richard Kreider.

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Thai Green Curry With Shrimp and Scallops Recipe

This seafood curry recipe comes from certified sports nutritionist and triathlete Matt Fitzgerald and dietitian and trainer Georgie Fear.

Although shrimp and scallops may not be at the top of your mind when you think of hydration, seafood is about 70 percent water. This recipe also incorporates bell peppers, which are 92 percent water. The base of the curry sauce is coconut milk, which includes electrolyte-rich coconut water.

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Toasted Rainbow Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes

Tomatoes are comprised of 95 percent water, and a half-cup of tomatoes contains 215 milligrams of potassium.

This light quinoa recipe boasts a pint of lycopene-rich heirloom rainbow cherry tomatoes. If you can't find heirloom tomatoes, regular cherry tomatoes will work just fine and deliver the same hydration benefits.

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Watermelon Tonic

This tonic hydrates—watermelons are 92 percent water—and cleanses. Like tomatoes, watermelon holds the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which helps neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

Plus, the mint and clove buds in the tonic ward off fatigue, improve circulation and build energy.

Wrapping It Up

Staying hydrated after your workouts will be beneficial in more than just a few ways.

How well you rehydrate after your exercise sessions will have a significant effect on your overall progress. It will affect your recovery as well as other metabolic processes that take place in your body post-workout, which are crucial in directing your exercise achievements.

Despite water being the best and most common hydrating fluid, you can always go for alternatives such as coconut water, sports drinks, chocolate milk, and oral rehydration tablets to restore the fluids and electrolytes that your body loses during a workout.

In addition, chia seeds have also been seen helpful as a post-workout rehydrating drink. Additionally, cherry juice is another highly effective rehydration drink that you can easily make at home. It contains a high level of antioxidants and other nutrients that boost muscle recovery and improve muscle function.

As you rehydrate, watch out that you do not over-hydrate. Too much fluids post-workout may result in unpleasant effects such as dizziness, fatigue, and heart arrhythmia.

Looking at the above few ways, most experts advise going for protein powders mixed with water, owing to the numerous aforementioned benefits of protein drinks. Pick your best way to rehydrate properly and stay healthy!

Over to you

What is your favorite rehydration drink after a fitness routine or workout? Share in the comments.

Milk has carbohydrates, electrolytes, sodium, and potassium – all in higher quantities that are found in sports drinks. Milk also contains calcium and vitamin D, which are important for muscle recovery and strengthening bones.

Sometimes, nothing beats a few tall glasses of H2O. In a Runner’s World article, “Recover the Right Way,” Stacy Sims, a Stanford University exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist, said that anyone can rehydrate by sipping liquids for three hours after a long workout.

The Top 6 Ways to Hydrate Better You Need to Try ASAP

Every fitness professional out there tells you to drink water, water, and more water. Including the ones in this article.

But after a summer boot-camp session on a scorching sunny pier, your hydration stores may be drained into a pool of sweat around your Nikes.

We asked two of New York’s top personal trainers&mdashWill Torres, owner of Willspace, and Joel Harper, celebrity trainer to clients like Dr. Oz&mdashfor their tips on how to give your hydration levels a boost for those 95-degree-days.

Get out your water bottle. Here’s what they had to say… &mdashLisa Elaine Held

JOEL HARPER, Celebrity trainer

1. Drink chia seeds. Literally. Harper recommends trying a chia drink at breakfast or for an afternoon snack.

The chia seeds that float around inside absorb 9 to 12 times their weight in water, which helps with prolonged hydration.

Plus, they’re “packed with omega-3s for endurance, your heart, and brain,” says Harper.

2. Soup up your water with supplements. You can supplement your water with electrolytes, antioxidants, and vitamins easily&mdashand naturally.

Harper loves Vega Sport plant-based powders. (They’re created by vegan Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier.) The Electrolyte Hydrator is packed with all essential electrolytes and bonus vitamins and antioxidants.

He also likes Pure Inventions antioxidant drops, which you can squeeze directly into your water glass.

3. Consider enhanced water.

Harper recommends Propel Zero. It’s a powder or enhanced bottled water, which he says is “very refreshing.” (Plus, Cindy Crawford drinks it, so there’s that.)

And while Gatorade is generally sugary and artificial (yuck), Harper recommends its newer G2 formulations, created for endurance athletes, which have more natural-leaning ingredients, few calories, tons of electrolytes, and vitamins.

Just don’t make it your daily drink of choice. Harper says to drink it “only during and after an intense workout.”

WILL TORRES, owner of Willspace

4. Avoid dehydrating.

Coffee, tea, and energy drinks sap your hydration away, since caffeine is a diuretic and will cause your body to release water.

“An air conditioned environment can also be dehydrating,” Torres says.

Use that as an excuse to take an out-of-office mid-day walk. For, um, a bottle of water.

5. Crack open a coconut. The benefits of coconut water have been called into question recently, but it’s still a great source of electrolytes. Just don’t chug liters without checking the label (and stick to the freshest source available). “Like most bottled drinks, be careful of the sugar,” Torres cautions.

6. Did we mention sip water? We know that you know you should drink water, but just in case you’re hooked on or tempted by icy sodas or other sugar- or sugar-substitute beverages in the heat… “Water should be your first choice when it comes to staying hydrated,” says Torres. “You should sip water every 15-20 minutes throughout the day.”

I have 'tidemarks' on my clothes after exercise - should I take extra salt on board?

Tidemarks on clothes are an indication of a 'salty sweater'. But, says Morgan, this alone is not reason to take extra salt on board. "It needs to be considered alongside the volume you sweat: so you could be a salty sweater who doesn't lose much sweat (so not too much sodium lost) or a non-salty sweater who sweats buckets (increased loss of sodium.) If you sweat profusely and are a salty sweater there may be need for extra salt, but you would probably be suffering from cramping or extreme fatigue if this were the case."

8 Great Post-Workout Juice Recipes

1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups red grapes
3 stalks celery
1 cup pomegranate seeds The dark pigments in blueberries, pomegranates, and red grapes are a sign of potent flavonoids and polyphenols that may reduce oxidative damage caused by exercise and keep cholesterol in check. Serves 2 189 calories per serving

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2 beets
2 pears
1 knob ginger
1 cucumber

Beets contain nitric-oxide compounds that help oxygenate blood and may enhance exercise performance, while ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and may calm an upset stomach.

Serves 2 154 calories per serving

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2 cups watermelon
1 cup tart cherries, pitted
1 orange

Tart cherries contain anthocyanin antioxidants, while watermelon provides the amino acid L-citrulline—both nutrients may help reduce postrun muscle soreness. the high vitamin c content of all three fruits helps protect your immune system.

Serves 2 124 calories per serving

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2 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 large handful spinach
1 lemon or lime
4 sprigs basil

Tomatoes are a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. this nutrient helps boost the absorption of iron (needed to maintain exercise endurance) found in leafy greens, such as spinach.

Serves 2 34 calories per serving

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1/2 cucumber
1 green apple
1/2 cup honeydew
2 mint leaves
8 ounces coconut water
Dash turmeric

Water-rich cucumber helps rehydrate coconut water adds the electrolyte potassium turmeric curbs inflammation. Serves 2 76 calories per serving

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6 swiss chard leaves
1/2 fennel bulb
1 cucumber
2 handfuls spinach
2 stalks celery
1 green apple
1 bunch basil

Swiss chard is high in bone-protective vitamin K and tastes less bitter with apple.

Serves 2 102 calories per serving

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1 large carrot
1 green apple
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup kale
1/2 cup strawberries
1 cup cold green tea
1 knob ginger

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which aids lung health. Green tea provides catechins, which reduce muscle damage caused by exercise.

Serves 2 74 calories per serving

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1 lemon
1 orange
3 stalks celery
2 beets
1 carrot
1 handful basil

Celery contains compounds that may promote bone health, while citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that plays a key role in forming collagen, needed to keep joints working properly.


You can kick your glass of tap up a notch with water drops, such as the detoxifying ones from Sakara, which they say makes your water more "functional" with ingredients such as chlorophyll. Or, try the coconut flavor drops from Pure Inventions. Bonus: Dropper or squeeze bottles are fairly portable, which helps you stay hydrated when you're on the go.

For more hydrating tips, check out these 23 water-rich foods you should be eating regularly, and sign up for our newsletter for daily healthy eating advice.


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