Food and Beverages - Hydration

During Physical Activity

  • Kids aged 4-8 need 5 cups of fluid from beverages per day.
  • Kids aged 9-13 need 6.5 - 7 cups of fluid from beverages per day.

Beverage intake is even more of a necessity when kids are active because their fluid needs increase. Children and youth are at greater risk of dehydration and overheating because when active they sweat less and produce more heat than adults.

Drink before, during and after physical activity or play:

Thirty to 60 minutes before activity drink 400 - 600 mL

During activity drink 150 mL for every 15 minutes of activity

After activity drink to replace the lost fluid through sweating

Recommended Fluid Intake for the Physically Active:

  • Choose water first to quench thirst.
  • Fruit juices can be diluted with water using half juice and half water.
  • Sports drinks should be consumed only during vigorous activity for more than 60 minutes.
  • Drink cool (not cold) liquids. Cool liquids are better for quenching thirst.
  • Limit caffeinated drinks (e.g., cola). Caffeinated drinks can contribute to dehydration.

Dehydration and Activity On Hot Days

Dehydration is the most common heat-related danger, so plan vigorous activity early in the morning when it's cooler.

If early-morning activity isn't possible:

  • Look for shady areas to play
  • Make sure water is readily available
  • Learn to recognize the signs of dehydration

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Cramping
  • Decreased concentration
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed appearance
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Increased temperature

Adapted from materials produced by Brant County Health Unit, Dietitians of Canada, PARC, Region of Peel Public Health and Sport Nutrition Specialists.

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Revised: Wednesday November 23 2011

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