Outdoor sports: what to drink and when?

When you hit the pavement for a run or play a vigorous game of soccer this fall, you need to drink enough fluid to perform at your best and avoid dehydration. But what should you drink, how much and when? We have the answers to all your sports hydration questions.

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What should you drink when playing outdoor sports?

According to the Dietitians of Canada, water is the best fluid to drink before and after playing sports. If you sweat heavily for more than 45 minutes, sipping on a sports drink while you exercise can help you replace lost sodium.

While fruit juice, soda and coffee also provide hydration, you should avoid them while you play sports because your body can’t absorb them well.

How much water should you drink while playing outdoor sports?

Men should aim for 12 cups of water a day while women need about 9 cups. Your fluid needs might be higher if you sweat a lot, wear heavy sports equipment, or exercise in very hot or humid weather. 

Before exercising, you should drink at least 1 to 2 cups of water approximately four hours before playing sports and another ½ to 1½ cups two hours before exercising. Consuming enough fluids beforehand will help you avoid dehydration, fatigue and muscle cramps.

While you’re playing sports, sip on water (or a sports drink if necessary) every 10 to 15 minutes. Take small sips rather than big gulps to avoid getting stomach cramps.

When you’re finished exercising, drink water to replenish lost fluids. Low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice and fruit with a high water content such as watermelon can also help you rehydrate.

How can you tell whether you’ve been drinking enough while playing outdoor sports?

Look out for signs of dehydration while you’re exercising, including:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Small amount of urine
  • Dark yellow or smelly urine
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should increase your fluid intake. Not only can dehydration affect your performance, it can be life-threatening in extreme cases.

What if you don’t like the taste of water?

If you struggle to drink adequate amounts of water because you don’t like the taste, choosing a pure and natural spring water instead of tap water can help. You can also add slices of lemon, lime, orange, cucumber or mint to your spring water to make it taste fresh and boost its vitamin content.

How much water should you bring when you’re playing outdoor sports?

If you’re going on a long hike or bike ride, calculate the amount of water you’re likely to need. A good rule of thumb is one liter for every two hours of hiking or slightly more if you’re doing strenuous exercise. For a four-hour hike, you should bring two one-liter bottles of spring water.

Worried about your carbon footprint? Eska gives you complete peace of mind. Our bottles are made from 100% recycled and recyclable plastic (rPET). We are also committed to sustainable production and dedicated to preserving the natural heritage of our province. We proudly embrace environmental protection practices that exceed government standards.

Stay hydrated while you play outdoor sports and follow your true nature with Eska.

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