Commercial rehydration drinks often contains processed sugars and chemicals that you don't want or need after an extended time in the sun or an intense workout. Homemade drinks using all-natural ingredients typically have a superior taste when compared to commercial products, too. You can whip them up in just a few minutes and keep a jug on hand for several days.
The base of any good rehydration drink is plain water. To the water, add ingredients that provide carbohydrates, which give you energy -- especially important if you've just exercised. Rehydration-appropriate carbohydrates include fruit juice, dates, agave, honey and table sugar. You should also add electrolytes, which are minerals that support healthy muscle function that you lose through sweat. Sodium, available in salt, and potassium, present in citrus juice, are particularly important.
For every 4 cups of water, add between 3 and 4 tablespoons of cane sugar, honey or agave nectar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. To make the drink, heat about a cup of the water, add the sugar and salt, and stir to dissolve. Then add the rest of the water and a few squeezes of orange juice, lemon juice or lime juice. Shake or stir it to mix and chill in the refrigerator. The concoction will keep fresh for about three days.
If you prefer the most natural source of sugar in your hydration drink, use dates instead of sugar. Brendan Brazier, athlete and author of "Thrive Fitness," suggests using a blender to whiz together coconut water -- a natural source of potassium -- with a couple of large, pitted dates, a small amount of coconut oil, lemon and lime juice and salt to taste. If you find the dates create a gritty texture, strain the mixture before chilling.
Mix about 1/4- to 1/3-cup of 100 percent juice with 3 cups of water and a few pinches of salt to make an easy hydration drink. Tart cherry juice is a good juice choice because of its not-too-sweet taste and its properties that may reduce post-exercise pain, revealed a study published in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition" in 2010. Brazier also recommends an easy hydration drink that involves steeping a bag of yerba mate, a South American tea, in coconut water overnight. The coconut water provides hydration and electrolytes, while the yerba mate offers mild stimulation.
- Chicago Tribune: Sports Drinks: How to Make Your Own
- Mother Nature Network: A Simple Homemade Electrolyte Drink
- Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness; Brendan Brazier
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice in Reducing Muscle Pain During Running: A Randomized Controlled Trial