The Better Beverage

We’ve all heard that it’s important to eat foods that provide energy before working out and drink adequate fluid.  But, what we eat and drink after exercise is equally important.  Food provides the fuel that powers the recovery period as muscles repair, and fluids keep these tissues hydrated.  However, many exercisers aren’t hungry immediately after working out, so a recovery beverage is a quick and easy alternative to solid food for a post-exercise snack.  To optimize recovery, the American Dietetic Association recommends drinking 24 oz of fluid per pound of body weight lost during exercise.  Ideally, rehydration should begin within 30 minutes after exercise ends and should be completed within 2 hours.  In addition to providing fluid, a recovery beverage should contain carbohydrates to help the body restock its energy stores, protein to build muscle and electrolytes like sodium and potassium to replenish those lost through sweat.  But before buying an expensive sports drink, head to the fridge.  Recent research has suggested that drinking low-fat chocolate milk speeds recovery while providing calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones.  Best of all, its great taste makes it a post-workout treat you really can feel good about!

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