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Drink Up

When you really work up a sweat, you need more than water to rehydrate.

By Anna Dubrovsky


In the heat of summer, it's easy to work up a sweat with outdoor fun or a vigorous yoga practice. But if you lose more liquid than you replace, you can get dehydrated. Telltale signs include a dry or sticky mouth or urine that's darker than usual. Dehydration can also cause uncomfortable symptoms like dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, or heart palpitations, which if untreated can become dangerous.

While plain water is usually all you need, it's sometimes wise to spike your drink, especially in the heat. Sports drinks serve the dual role of recharging you with carbohydrates and replacing the electrolytes (salts and minerals such as sodium and potassium) you sweat out during prolonged, strenuous exercise. You probably don't need to worry about missing electrolytes after a light workout, but if you are planning an all-day hike in the sun, or a hot yoga practice, you might want to consider an electrolyte-enriched sports drink.

Carrie Demers, MD, the director of the Himalayan Institute Total Health Center in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, swears by a simple homemade sports drink that includes salt, which (remember high school chemistry?) is made up of the electrolytes sodium and chloride. "It's more hydrating than plain water because your body will hang on to it," she says. "It'll stay in your tissues." In addition to helping you retain water, salt stimulates thirst, so you're likely to drink more. Her recipe also calls for honey, a source of energy-boosting carbohydrates and sweetness, which makes it a delight to get your daily dose of H2O.

Homemade Sports Drink

1 teaspoon honey
1 cup hot water
Juice from a quarter of a lemon
Pinch of salt

Directions: Combine ingredients, stir, and chill the drink in the refrigerator to enjoy later. Drink during or after exercise.

June 2011

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