While experts agree that you can sip your way to post-exercise relief, traditional sports drinks aren’t always the best choice. New research suggests drinking a natural beverage such as fruit juice, milk, or even beer after exercise could be more effective than highly-engineered beverages designed specifically to aid in workout recovery. The question remains: Which should you drink after your workout?
The typical rule of thumb is to save recovery drinks for after exercise sessions that last at least an hour. (That way you’re likely to have burned enough energy to warrant replenishing.) The formula you choose should match your workout, says Brian Parr, Ph.D., associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina Aiken. After strength training you need protein; after a bout of endurance your body craves fluid and carbs.
But after workouts of almost any kind, some experts believe, you can help your body bounce back with antioxidants. “There’s one theory that exercise-induced muscle damage is related to the free radicals in your body, which are actually generated while working out,” says Parr. “Antioxidants help prevent damage from free radicals.”
Here are four antioxidant-packed drinks that’ll help you recover from any workout.