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What Water Works Best for Workouts?

From plain old H2O to coconut water to sports drinks, there's a sea of options!

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Coconut Water

My new favorite rehydrator is coconut water. I drink it all the time, especially when I'm home in Miami. It combines the best characteristics of enhanced water and sports drinks.

Coconut water is "isotonic," meaning it has the same balance of electrolytes in our bodies. This makes coconut water a great natural sports drink to replace those nutrients. Unlike sports drinks, coconut water is free of dyes, artificial sweeteners, added sugar and preservatives. It is low in calories too, around 40 calories per eight ounces. Some studies have found that this tropical water is more hydrating than water!

I do not want to play down the importance of good old water, however. When I work out, I drink a few ounces of water for every 10 minutes that I exercise. After your workout, you should replace the water you've lost through perspiration. That's about two cups of water for each pound of lost body weight.

If you can make the commitment to start drinking more water, you'll definitely notice a change in the way you feel, in the energy you have and the mental kick that sufficient water gives.

Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

I usually drink bottled water, rather than water from the tap, because it fits my needs and my lifestyle. But the quality of tap water has improved, and on the whole, Americans have good clean drinking water. You can get information about your community's water supply by logging on to the Local Drinking Water Information Web page at the Environmental Protection Agency. Filtering out contaminants from tap water with a home water filter is another good option for making sure your drinking water is safe.

The best choice for staying hydrated boils down to your taste preferences and how many calories you can afford to ingest, based on your activity level. If you have trouble guzzling plain water, drink a low-calorie flavored version instead. As for working out and competing, coconut water and sports drinks can fulfill your post-workout requirements.

The bottom line is to drink up and stay hydrated. Your body will love you for it.

Martina Navratilova is AARP's fitness expert.

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EAT LIKE A CHAMPION: AARP fitness expert Martina Navratilova on why she eats "au naturel."

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