Yoga classes and activities, Pilates, Essentrics and all stretching methods have been all the rage for a few years. Although they are not endurance sports, these activities can easily lead to a heavy sweat, especially hot yoga and those practiced outdoors.
How to interpret and adapt recommendations for adequate hydration while practicing these low intensity activities?
During exercise, hydration replaces some of the fluids lost in sweat, facilitates blood circulation and promotes the supply of oxygen and energy to the muscles. It also optimizes waste elimination and promotes the absorption of carbohydrates (sugars) and electrolytes by the body.
During more intense physical activities lasting more than an hour at high intensity, it is recommended to consume 30 to 60 g of carbohydrates / h. This may require the absorption of an energy drink with a concentration from 4 to 8% carbohydrate (1); this provides the necessary fuel for the muscles. It is even possible to absorb up to 105 g of carbohydrate per hour by taking in different types of sugars in different forms: liquid, solid or gel (2). During activity lasting longer than an hour but at lower intensity, the carbohydrate concentration may be less or even zero. And if the activity lasts less than an hour, water is enough!
Commercial sports drinks can be diluted with an equal amount of water to achieve a lower carbohydrate concentration. Our suggestions: create your own homemade drinks! Use 100% pure fruit juice that you dilute in water, and you will naturally find vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. Flavor your water with fresh or frozen fruit or herbs like mint, basil or cilantro. Use your favorite herbal tea or tea as a base for a cold drink, then sweeten as desired depending on the duration of your effort.
Since sodium is the main electrolyte lost in sweat, adding a pinch of salt helps offset this loss and helps balance fluids. This is especially useful when practicing hot yoga outdoors or exercising for long periods at high temperatures.
Check out some recipes right here:
Frozen juice sports drink: 1/2 box of frozen juice with 6 boxes of water
Other hydration tips:
- Remember to drink enough before and after exercise and to adapt your hydration according to the intensity of your effort.
- During exercise, drink according to your thirst signals and your individual needs. It is no longer recommended to drink straight away without feeling thirsty. (3) (4)
- As a general rule of thumb: try to allow 3 to 4 sips (150 to 300 ml) every 15 to 20 minutes.
- If training is done in hot, humid conditions, decrease the amount of carbohydrates (sugars) in your sports drink and make sure it is cool.
- Remember to take into consideration what you ate prior to physical activity, the intensity and duration of your exercise, the temperature around you, your level of perspiration, and your personal ability to drink during exercise.
 Jeukendrup 2008 Eur J Sport Sci Carbohydrate Feeding during Exercise
 Hew-Butler et coll. Updated Fluid Recommendation: Position Statement From the International Marathon Medical Directors Association (IMMDA). Clin J Sport Med. Juillet 2006;16(4):283-92.
 Goulet ED. Effect of exercise-induced dehydration on endurance performance: evaluating the impact of exercise protocols on outcomes using a meta-analytic procedure. Br J Sports Med. Juillet 2013;47(11):679-86.