Outdoor sports: what to drink and when?

When you go for a run or play a sweaty game of soccer this fall, make sure you drink enough fluid to perform at your best and avoid dehydration. But what, when and how much should you drink? We’ve got the answers to all your sports hydration questions!

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What should you drink when playing outdoor sports?

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

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

How much water should you drink before, during and after exercise?

Men should aim for 12 cups of water a day while women need about nine cups. You may need to hydrate more if you sweat a lot, if you’re wearing heavy sports equipment or if you’re exercising in very hot or humid weather. 

Before exercising, you should drink at least 1 to 2 cups of water about 4 hours before you start, and another ½ to 1 ½ cups around 2 hours before. Drinking enough ahead of time will help you avoid dehydration, fatigue and muscle cramps.

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

After exercising, drink plenty of 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 to know whether you’re drinking enough

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

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Small amount of urine
  • Dark yellow or smelly urine
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

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?

Have a hard time drinking enough water because you don’t enjoy the taste? Drinking pure, 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 give it a fresh taste 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 litre for every two hours of hiking or a little more for more vigorous exercise. So for a four-hour hike, pack 2 x 1-litre bottles of water.

Concerned about your carbon footprint? You can drink Eska with peace of mind. Our bottles are made from 100% recycled and recyclable plastic (rPET). We’re also committed to sustainable development and to preserving the natural heritage of our province. And we’re proud to adopt 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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