WOMexperts

Get a sweat on
Date Published : 12 Jul 2018

With sweat pouring down your brow and dripping into your eyes, you cling to the slither of shade along the edge of the pavement while dodging the umbrellas that other pedestrians are wielding in futile defence against the noon sun. Yes, summer is here and the heat is on. Desperate for some aircon, you duck into a convenience store. From the shelves of brightly coloured bottles of sports drinks, which one should you choose?

Whether you’re on the street, the beach or the trails, getting caught out in the heat without a drink is not good news. A good summer rehydration drink should give you an energy boost, should taste good and should contain electrolytes, the vital salts that get lost when you sweat and that your body needs to keep on going. Here’s our, admittedly subjective, roundup of the best ways to hydrate when the humidity gets high.

Pocari Sweat

The poor Pocari, Japan’s only marsupial species, suffers a life of torturous abuse in the saunas of the Pocari Sweat factory. But their travails are not in vain, with its weird grapefruit taste and disconcerting name, Japan’s Pocari Sweat is our fave option in the heat. It’s actually even better watered down, two parts water to one of Pocari, so you can drink it for longer before getting that weird scuzzy mouthfeel. (It’s not really the sought-after sweat of Japan’s only native marsupial, we made that up. Japan has no native marsupial species.)

Pros: provides a good mix of electrolytes.

Cons: energy comes in the form of simple sugars that don’t provide long-lasting energy.

Coconut water

Nature’s sports drink. Coconut water contains more potassium than bananas, but on the downside it has quite low calorific content. So it’s great for hydrating, but poorer as a source of energy. Best of all, when you sip it straight from the coconut, this stuff tastes of holidays.

Pros: you can drink it straight from the coconut

Cons: coconuts are really hard to open. Low energy content.

Tailwind

We know a lot of people who swear by this stuff. The makers claim it contains “all you need, all day,” with a mix of glucose and sucrose for energy plus electrolytes for hydration. They also claim it’s “easy on the gut” compared to the more heavily-flavoured options out there. But in the case of some of Tailwind’s available flavour options, we beg to differ. We recommend trying a small portion before you commit to spending “all day” relying on this stuff.

Pros:  comes as a powder, so you can mix it to your preferred strength and save on single-use plastic bottles.

Cons: some of the flavours are a bit weird.

Aquarius

Aquarius is the official drink sponsor of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, not to mention several of Hong Kong’s many hiking and trail running events, thanks to the spending power of parent company Coca Cola. So this is, perhaps, Asia’s most popular sports drink. But we all know it’s just a poor-man’s Pocari Sweat, a second choice for when the real thing is sold-out.

Pros: it’s a good replacement for when Pocari Sweat is unavailable.

Beer

Beer sure is refreshing on a hot day. And every pint delivers a hefty dose of calories. A few of years back there was a lot of media buzz around a 2007 research paper that seemed to suggest that beer is a great post exercise recovery drink. So should you be taking it on your next hike? Probably not. The calories in beer come in a form that is not particularly good as a quick energy source. And that 2007 research paper was widely misquoted and misinterpreted, even by some reputable media outlets. The truth is, the scientific consensus points to beer being no better for hydration than water. It’s just more likely to make you fall on your face.

Pros: beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Cons: drunkenness, bad dancing, liver failure, obesity...

5-Hour energy

On your outdoor adventures, avoid this stuff like a rabid village dog. Not because this concentrated caffeine drink has been accused of contributing to several deaths, but because it doesn’t do what its name claims it does. The makers themselves say that 5-Hour energy contains “only four calories.” Seeing as calories are nothing more than the unit in which energy is measured, and the average person will burn four calories in less than five minutes of sitting still doing nothing, this product doesn’t come close to living up to its name. 5-Hour Energy contains virtually no energy. What it does do is contain a lot of caffeine, which makes you feel energetic in the same way that tequila makes you think you're great in conversation.

Pros: it contains a massive dose of vitamin B12, more than your body can possibly absorb, so you’ll produce really nutrient-rich urine.

Cons: provides no hydration or energy. Strangely it comes in a decaf version, which just seems even more utterly pointless.

Water

You know what? You can just save your money and drink water. Even better, invest in a reusable, insulated bottle that will keep your water cold all day - that way you’ll avoid adding to the one million plastic bottles used every minute of every day around the world. Download the Water for Free Hong Kong app (IOS / Android) which will guide you to the nearest of the 1,300 water fountains on their database. If you’re a fan of the outdoors you can even pick up a reusable filter that will make water from any country park stream safe to drink.

Pros: you can get it from the tap, you can get it for free from drinking fountains, it falls from the sky.

Cons: doesn’t contain electrolytes or carbohydrates, but add a pinch of salt, a spoonful of honey and a squeeze of lemon, and you’ve got your own homemade energy drink that’s just as good as any of the above.

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