Running a marathon takes hard work and dedication. Watching others run a marathon takes some creative poster board signs ("Worst parade ever") and perhaps a beer or two.
However, new research from the Technical University of Munich suggests that marathon runners could use a can of beer too – just not in the way you'd expect.
In the study, half the participants were given nonalcoholic beer to drink during their training and recovery process and the other half were given a placebo, the New York Times reports. The results seemed to back up the many European runners who had used nonalcoholic beer for years to aid in their recovery process. The nonalcoholic brew was also responsible for a significant reduction in upper respiratory tract infections.
So what gives? It turns out that the ingredients in this tasty (but not intoxicating) beverage are a runner's dream come true. "Naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds present in food such as non-alcoholic beer (NAB) have strong anti-oxidant, anti-pathogenic and anti-inflammatory properties," the report concludes.
If you can't seem to get past the idea of drinking nonalcoholic beer after pounding the pavement, there are other unexpected recovery methods you could consider trying. Many experts suggest taking an ice bath (which constricts the blood vessels in your legs and then encourages fresh oxygen to flow to your muscles once you warm up). You might also consider downing some coconut water. Nature's super tasty re-hydration potion isn't just the latest celebrity craze – it also has major street cred among marathon runners who use it to pump electrolytes back into their bodies.