What's Your Favorite Drink?

We recently covered the importance of keeping hydrated in warm weather. Beyond good old water, other drinks can provide fuel for different needs.

Coffee or tea. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine can enhance endurance. This of course only works if you drink it before your run. You may want to refrain from drinking it before an evening run so that it does not interfere with your sleep.

Coconut water. This has become a popular drink as it is rich in potassium, a key electrolyte. It's also most effective before a run.

Sports drinks. Most provide a balance of sodium for electrolyte replacement and carbohydrates for energy.

Electrolyte packets or tablets. A range of products are available that quickly dissolve in water for a cheap, low-calorie source of electrolytes.

Vegetable juice. A natural source of nutrients and sodium.

Chocolate milk. An inexpensive recovery drink that provides a great carbs-to-protein ratio for muscle recovery.

Fruit juice. Note that most fruit juices are very high in calories so drink in moderation! A great alternative is to buy unsweetened cherry juice from a health food store and add water to a couple tablespoons. It contains melatonin which has been shown to reduce inflammation when taken regularly.

Smoothies. Mixing fresh fruit, yogurt or kefir and even some spinach, kale, beets, celery and cucumber in a blender makes for a healthy drink full of anti-oxidants and protein.

Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.

Tags: This Week in Runners, Y, YMCA, Running, drinks, recovery drinks, sport drinks, electrolytes, anti-oxidants, protein

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