This summer made exercising difficult. Those of us who are older or who have underlying health conditions were stuck inside. In many swelteringly hot areas of the country, having malls and public but enclosed places closed meant even healthy people were in their homes more often. Gyms were closed. A lot of parks were closed or just too muggy. Our exercise options were limited. Now, with the cooling weather, it’s easier to get out for more walks, jogs, hikes and bike rides. But, what’s the best drink to rehydrate with?
We’re not fans of sports drinks. They are rich in electrolytes, but they also have so much sugar that you might as well chug a soda! We do like water and fruit infused water as it’s cooling and rehydrating. But, it won’t help you in most ways other than to regain moisture — and some vitamins in the fruit version. The best option might surprise you. According to researchers, it’s chocolate milk.
“Chocolate milk contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, flavonoids, electrolytes and some vitamins which make this drink a good choice for recovery in athletes,” said senior study author Dr. Amin Salehi-Abargouei of Shahid Sadoughi Univ. of Medical Sciences.
The people drinking chocolate milk could exercise for six minutes longer than the people drinking sports drinks. And had lower levels of lactic acid (the chemical in your body that makes your muscles hurt when you’re working out).
“Chocolate milk is a low-cost, delicious and palatable option for recovery, and provides either similar or superior effects compared with commercial drinks,” said Dr. Salehi-Abargouei. And it’s good news, when you look at the price of a bottle of Gatorade and compare it to the cost of making a glass of chocolate milk.
Another school of thought suggests that the phosphorous found in milk helps is ease the muscle pain you feel after a workout. However, more research is needed for that claim. Whey protein found in high amounts in milk is thought to repair muscles, making it a great post workout drink.
Skim chocolate milk is better than regular skim milk because, according to another study, “Compared to plain milk, water and most sports drinks, low-fat chocolate milk packs double the carbs and protein. The 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein is ideal for replenishing tired muscles.” As it is higher in carbs, you should speak to your doctor. When you have blood sugar concerns, adding extra carbs into your routine is something you have to be careful about. Carbs are a healthy part of your diet, but too many can spike blood sugar and should be avoided. As part of a recovery plan after a workout, they may be helpful to you.
Because of the high amount of carbs, you either need to think ahead or speak to your doctor. We suggest talking to your doctor before making any significant changes in your life. The milk will give you a boost of healthy protein and nutrients without the sugar of Gatorade or another sports drink, but chocolate syrup will undermine that in some ways. Get a doctor’s input. Either way, we’re pleased that the cooler weather is here and will help us all get back to exercising outdoors. Even in the hotter parts of the country where it never gets cold, getting out of the triple digits is a good start!