Proper hydration of the body is very important for physically active people. The reason is that training causes excessive loss of fluids and electrolytes, which are important for the metabolic processes. Especially in summer, when the temperature is high, and many people use high-carb diets, which increase the loss of water, and introduce additional training sessions in order to speed up fat burning, proper supply of liquids is crucial.
At the same time, in many articles you can read that pure water may not be the best solution in case of very active people. Well, it's hard not to agree with such statement, especially if you talk about ordinary spring water bought in a supermarket – with low content of minerals.
Such water, when drank in large amount, may make the problem of electrolytes, such as sodium, insufficiency worse, which influences the effort abilities and it may also cause many various disorders and is just unhealthy. In case of moderately- and highly-mineralized water, the situation is much better, but such kinds of water may also be a bad solution in case of very intensive training.
Therefore, it's advised for hard-working sports people to supply specially designed sports drinks called “isotonics” with particular osmolality (content of stable components), close to the osmolality of body fluids, which makes the process of hydration optimal. Such drinks contain particular dose of glucose, which is lost during physical effort together with electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium or magnesium.
It's very popular to prepare “home-made isotonics”, usually with the use of spring water, honey and lemon juice. Such procedure would be very advantageous, if not for the fact that only few people pay attention to the proper concentration of such drink, which is the key factor in the process of hydration. In other words, if you give too little honey or sugar – the solution will be hypotonic, if you give too much of it – it will be hypertonic.
What are the best proportions?
It depends on the ingredients of the isotonic drink... If you want to create an isotonic drink with pure glucose, you would need about 5g/100ml of water. But if you want to make an isotonic drink with kitchen salt, you would only need 0.9g/100ml of the drink. The particularly advantageous option is the one, which would be the combination of glucose and kitchen salt – the source of sodium, which is lost during physical activity.
Thanks to a simple mathematical equation, you can estimate that if you want to use both ingredients with quite pleasant taste of the drink, you would have to add 40g of glucose and 1.8g of kitchen salt to one litre of water. Because of the fact that drinking water also contains some amount of other mineral compounds, you can decrease the amount of salt to 1 – 1.5g.
And this is how you can get a “home-made isotonic drink”. To improve the taste, you can add small amount of lemon juice or sweetener. Although, the taste doesn't seem to be so important, it often happens that sports people drink less of the less tasty isotonics, which is the reason why their hydration during physical effort is worse.