Find out how to stay hydrated when active to perform at your best.
It’s the time of year when training is starting up for Spring walking or running events. Staying hydrated when you’re active prevents you from getting tired too quickly and helps you perform at your best. Read on to find out more!
How much fluid do I need in a day?
Fluids not only include water, but also milk, juice, and soups. The amount of fluid you need varies with each person and depends on your activity level, and temperature of the environment. Drinking to quench thirst is a good indicator of how much fluid you need.
Should I have commercial sports drinks during activity?
If your activity lasts for 1 hour or less: quench your thirst with plain, cool water during your activity.
- If your activity lasts for 1 hour or more and is non-vigorous¹: satisfy your thirst with plain, cool water during your activity. Carry a healthy snack such as an apple or a granola bar to munch on if you feel hungry.
- If your activity lasts more than 1 hour and is vigorous²: consume fluids that contain 4-8% carbohydrate or 40-80 g of carbohydrate per 1 L of prepared beverage during your activity. Commercial sports drinks can be quite expensive. You can make your own sports drink at home with this easy recipe.
Easy Sports Drink Recipe
- ¼ cup of sugar
- ¼ tsp of salt
- ¼ cup of boiling water
- ¼ cup orange juice (not concentrate) or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3¾ cups cold water
- In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water.
- Add the juice and the remaining water; chill.
Makes 1 L
Each 8 oz (1 cup) serving contains 50 calories, 110 mg sodium and 12 g carbohydrate.
Source: Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook
What should I drink after activity?
- If your activity lasted for 1 hour or less: quench your thirst with plain, cool water after your activity.
- If your activity lasted for 1 hour or more and was non-vigorous¹: satisfy your thirst with plain, cool water after your activity. If you feel hungry, have a healthy snack such as a glass of milk, yogurt, or fruit.
- If your activity lasted more than 1 hour and was vigorous²: if you are not consuming food after your activity, try recovery fluids that contain carbohydrate to restore your glycogen, protein to repair your muscles, and electrolytes to replace those lost from sweat. Give flavoured milk, regular milk, or fruit smoothies a try to see what you like!
Water is the best choice to satisfy thirst but other beverages can help for some activities. Most people who are moderately active can drink to thirst regular fluids before, during, and after activity. Use Canada’s Food Guide to determine the amount and type of food recommended for healthy eating.
by Nicole Spencer, MEd, RD
¹Non-vigorous activities include: leisurely walking and swimming, light gardening, light housework
²Vigorous activities include: race walking, jogging, running, swimming laps, heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing), fast dancing, hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack