With the sand, sun, and intensity of the game, beach volleyball players require proper hydration in order to keep their energy level high, and to stay safe in the hot sun. While commercial sports drinks are designed to give you an energy boost and help recovery time, they are usually high in calories and in sugar. Typically drinking water is an excellent way to stay hydrated, but it is suitable for low-intensity exercise for up to 50 minutes. Unfortunately, this is not the case with beach volleyball. It is important to note, that water does not contain sodium, and this can cause your body to lose fluid. So water alone is normally not enough for the high-intensity workout of beach volleyball.
Luckily there are plenty of healthy options available for you to use. If you are looking for an alternative to commercial sports drinks, check out these natural, healthy sport drink alternatives.
1. Watermelon Juice
Watermelon isn’t just delicious, it is excellent for hydration, as well as minimizing post-workout soreness. It packs a serious nutritional punch, as it’s rich in electrolytes, selenium, potassium, betaine, copper, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, choline, lycopene, manganese, and the amino acid L-Citrulline. Watermelon water is crucial for maintaining fluid balance; it also improves circulation, and aids in muscle recovery. This fruit is made up of 92% water, and is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C as well!
2. Cherry Juice
Cherry juice has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is excellent after a hard workout, so be sure to add this to your pre and post-exercise recovery drink. Recent research has discovered that cherry juice may be just as effective as NSAIDs, as it helps reduce inflammation and pain. In addition, cherry juice is able to reduce muscle soreness, prevent muscle damage, as well as shorten recovery time after a hard workout.
3. Coconut Water
This is natures version of a sports drink, as it contains a combination of nutrients that are similar to what you would find in a commercial sports drink. This amazing drink is full of antioxidants, enzymes, and phytonutrients. It also features important electrolytes that you need for peak performance; calcium, sulfur, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, selenium, iodine, sodium, and phosphorus. Please keep in mind that coconut water alone does not have enough sodium in it to keep you going for those LONG, hard, hot workouts. Unless of course you add in some healthy salt, or use it in conjunction with other ingredients.
4. Cactus Water
This is a blend of prickly pear cactus juice extract and water. Research suggests that cactus helps decrease inflammation, as well as blood glucose levels. This drink features naturally occurring electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, as well as hydrating antioxidants. This might be a hard drink to find, but if you do, be sure to read the ingredient label. You want to be on the lookout for processed and chemical byproducts.
5. Maple Water
Maple water is pulled directly from the soil, so it’s packed full of nutrients that feature anti-inflammatory ingredients such as manganese. In addition, maple water contains half the sugar of coconut water, and many find that it even tastes better! While it contains fewer electrolytes, such as potassium, then the other alternative drinks, maple water contains abscisic acid (ABA). This is a compound that helps fights inflammation, and helps regulate your blood sugar, so be sure to add this delicious drink into the mix!
6. Green Tea
This well-known drink may help improve athletic endurance, as well as improve the ability of muscle cells to utilize fat for energy. The antioxidant effect of green tea has a protective effect on the cell membranes and on the red blood cells. Your red blood cells perform a vital role during exercise by providing oxygen, and this needed for optimal energy production. It’s a good time to become a tea drinker!
You can also make your own healthy sports drink. Doing it yourself allows you to have complete control over what you put into your drink, and there’s nothing better than knowing exactly what you are putting into your body. In addition, making your own gives you the ability to tailor your drink in order to fit your own needs. There are a lot of electrolyte-filled food and drinks out there, so the sky’s the limit. If you need some inspiration, check out some of these homemade sport drink alternatives recipes.
Natural Energy and Sports Drink Recipe
(Curiosity of WellnessMama)
• 1 quart of liquid of your choice (options such as: green tea, herbal teas, maple water, coconut water, watermelon water, etc.)
• ⅛- ¼ tsp Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
• ¼ to ½ tsp crushed calcium-magnesium tablets or powder (optional)
• ¼ cup or more of a juice of your choosing (optional. i.e. grape, apple, lemon, lime, pineapple, kale, wheatgrass, etc.)
• 1-2 TBSP sweetener (optional)- can use honey, maple syrup, stevia, etc.
1. Brew your tea (if using), or slightly warm up your base liquid
2. If using, add in Himalayan pink salt and calcium magnesium
3. Add in juice and mix well
4. Cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to use
“Herbisport” Sports Drink
(Curiosity of Happy Herbivore)
• 1 cup water
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 tsp lemon zest
• 1 Tbsp. honey or 1 date
• a dash of salt
1. Blend all ingredients together.
2. Taste, adjusting as needed.
DIY Homemade Sports Drink
(Curiosity of Naturally Savvy)
• 3.5 cups water
• ¼ cup organic orange juice
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• ¼ teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together, and enjoy!