Do not know which drink is the best? Make yourself one!

Miguel Ángel Martínez

17 September, 2014

Sometimes it is difficult to choose the most appropriate beverage for sport. In order to get out of doubt, it is best that you prepare your own drink. We explain how you can prepare it in the best way to make it as healthy as possible.

Muscle activity generates heat, which must be expelled from the body to maintain homeostasis. One of the mechanisms that our body can use is the production of sweat, which evaporates, releases part of the heat that has occurred. With sweat, water and electrolytes are lost, which must be restored to allow recovery of the effort, both during the session and after finishing it.
Is it always necessary to replace the water for a rehydrating drink?
No. Water is an excellent rehydrator, and if you do an adequate intake before starting the workout, and this is done under favorable conditions of temperature and humidity, it is possible to make efforts of up to 60 minutes without the need for rehydrate
If the activity is not aerobic and long-lasting, it is not necessary to substitute water for other commercial compounds, which contain sugars and can generate excess caloric intake.
In cases of high resistance sports (marathon, ultramaraton, triathlon, Ironman), the replacement of fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes is necessary, so you need to drink specific drinks.
How can I make my own drink at home?
To do it you need three components: water, sugar and salt.
Sugars provide the appropriate carbohydrate concentration for better absorption, and also provide a replacement fuel for exercise. A recommended concentration should not exceed 6%, since the excessive concentration of carbohydrates may, paradoxically, cause hypoglycemia.
The only electrolyte that has shown utility when replacing it during exercise is sodium. We can find it in the common salt, which when dissolved in water provides Na + 2 and Cl-. The appropriate concentration in salt oscillates between the 460 and the 1.150 milligrams per liter of water. This variability corresponds to the fact that, depending on the discipline, higher concentrations may be needed to prevent hyponatremia (too low concentration of Na + 2), a disorder that can be very serious and that in long-term tests it can Produce by intake of liquids with low sodium concentration (such as water).
In this way, for half a liter of water, you have to add:
• 30 grams of sugar
• 0,250 grams of salt
For a liter of dissolution, the quantities must be doubled:
• 60 grams of sugar
• 0,5 grams of salt
As mentioned above, the amount of salt may increase in case long-term tests are performed to compensate for the electrolyte imbalance that could be caused by drinking water, where the concentration in salts is lower than that of the blood plasma (hypotonic).
Final recommendations
Water is an excellent rehydrator, and you should drink water before, during and after exercise.
An exercise of up to 60 minutes can be done without an imperative need to drink water if it is well hydrated before starting the session and if the environmental conditions are favorable.
However, water may not be sufficient in long-term tests, since the salt's water concentration is less than the concentration of the plasma, so that the intake of water can cause an electrolytic imbalance known as to hyponatremia.
To avoid this, you can use commercial drinks with adequate concentrations or we can make a drink at home using the recommended amounts of water, sugar and salt. With these beverages we will manage to maintain the electrolytic concentrations, as well as favoring the absorption and replacement of energy.

the author

Miguel Ángel Martínez

Master in Physiology. Bachelor's Degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences. Superior Technician in Animation of Physical-Sports Activities

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