Alternatives to Sports Drinks

Most people don’t need a “sports drink” at all when they exercise.  There’s nothing better than water at replacing the fluid you’ve lost from working up a good sweat.

Unless, that is, you’re a marathoner or a triathlete, or you work out hard for more than half an hour at a time.  Then you may have to concern yourself with the minerals you’re losing in exercise.  And during an extended workout, your body might need an extra supply of readily-available energy in the form of carbohydrates.

Then a sports drink could be useful.

One of the super-fit athletes in my practice wanted to steer clear of all the artificial-sounding ingredients in widely-available commercial sports drinks.  So she asked me –

What are the alternatives to sports drinks?

One viable alternative is diluted fruit juice.  Orange juice is a good choice.  Use one part OJ to two parts water.  The orange juice has sugars and minerals in it that will replace much of what your body’s lost.  And the two-to-one dilution factor makes sure you’re getting plenty of fluid replacement without a negative post-sugar crash.

Another choice that many health-conscious athletes are making is coconut water.

(It’s not coconut milk – coconut milk is extracted from mature coconut flesh.  Coconut water is the liquid inside the immature fruit.)

Coconut Water Benefits

Coconut water has 15 times the potassium of a banana, along with the magnesium and sodium needed to replace the minerals lost through exercise.

It’s low in calories and refreshing.

Give it a try.  And then let me know how you do in your next endurance race.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

What to Drink After You Exercise to Rebuild Muscle

Hydration tips from Karen Flicker



About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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