(Brigita Avramovič Brumen, clinical dietician)

The ideal ratio between fluid intake and fluid loss is essential for the optimum performance and safety of athletes during exercise. In addition to fluid intake, the total volume of fluid in the body is also affected by the ambient temperature, intensity and duration of physical activity as well as sweating. Due to differences is specific conditions and individual characteristics of each sporting discipline, sweat losses during exercise vary between 0.2 and 3.5 L/h. Dehydration can cause muscle spasms, affect cognitive and physical performance and, in case of longer duration, in extreme situations cause even febrile convulsions, heat stroke, gastrointestinal problems or death. To prevent dehydration, approximately 500 ml of isotonic fluid before exercise is generally sufficient and a similar amount per hour if the exercise is longer than 1.5 hours. We can easily assess our own hydration status in the two following ways. By monitoring the change in body weight before and after exercise, including fluid intake during exercise and by monitoring the amount and color of the urine excreted.

A rich selection of various compositions of sports drinks is available on the market. Nevertheless, it is easy to prepare your own sports drink at home. Perhaps it is not sufficient as regards the exact energy and electrolyte recommended compositions, however, this drink is certainly a better choice to drink before and during sports activity compared to water. The ingredients you need to prepare a sports drink are simple and include sugar, salt and water. Sugar prevents a decrease in performance caused by a drop in blood sugar level, fluid helps to prevent dehydration, and salt helps to absorb and retain fluid.

Simple recipes for making homemade sports drinks

1. Refreshing lime and cucumber electrolyte drink:
2 cucumbers ● 2 limes, peeled ● ½ cup of coconut water
Preparation: Use a juicer to squeeze cucumber and lime juice and mix it with coconut water. Enjoy appropriately chilled.

2. Watermelon electrolyte drink:
¼ watermelon, seedless ● 2 large glasses of coconut water ● a pinch of Himalayan sea salt
Preparation: Mix all ingredients in a blender. Enjoy!

3. Refreshing herbal drink:
1 cup of herbal tea (preferably a few citrus fruits) ● 2-4 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup ● ¼ tablespoon of sea salt
Preparation: Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in the refrigerator. Drink chilled or with ice.

4. Recipe for homemade "Gatorade":
3 cups of water ● 1 cup of orange juice ● ½ cup of lemon juice ● 3 tablespoons of honey ● ½ tablespoon of sea salt
Preparation: Put all ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly. Enjoy chilled or with ice.

5. Homemade sports drink with electrolytes:
1 cup of 100% fruit juice ● 1 cup of coconut water ● ½ tablespoon of sea salt ● 2 tablespoons of honey ● ½ cup of lemon or lime juice ● 2 cups of water
Preparation: Put all ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly. Enjoy chilled or with ice.

6. Electrolyte sports drink:
0.5 L of ginger water (find recipe below) ● 1 L of water ● juice made of 3 small lemons ● 1 tablespoon of sea salt ● stevia to taste

7. Ginger water:
1 medium ginger root ● 1 litre of water ● liquid stevia, to taste
Preparation: Boil the sliced ginger in a pot with water and cook for 15 minutes. Once it has cooled, add liquid stevia to taste and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.