Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Friday, May 3, 2019

May is National Fitness and Sports Month

Physical activity is important to maintain proper health as it can produce multiple long-term benefits. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults participate in 150 - 300 minutes of moderate or 75 – 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week. Adults should also perform muscle strengthening activities two or more days per week. You can be active by working out, running, playing your favorite sport, or even just by walking your dog! If necessary, ask your healthcare provider what activities are right for you and your medical condition. Any amount of activity that you are physically able to do is beneficial!
Some benefits of physical activity include:

  • Decreases risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Increases muscle, bone, and joint development
  • Improves strength and endurance
  • Allows for weight management
  • Relieves stress
  • Increases energy, self-esteem, and mental health
  • Reduces blood pressure and increases insulin sensitivity
  • Decreases the risk of falls and improves cognitive functioning in older adults
If you have limitations that prevent you from exercising, consider some of the following activities: adding a walk into your day, trying water aerobics to reduce the risk of joint discomfort, participating in flexibility exercises such as daily stretching or yoga, or even doing modified workouts depending on your condition or disability. Do not become discouraged based on your possible limitations, everyone has to start somewhere! Start by increasing your physical activity today, no matter how small the change!
While being active, proper hydration is important to replace the fluid that you have lost while participating in physical activity. It can be easy to dehydrate as it can happen in any physical activity scenario. Athletes are often prompted to begin physical activity well hydrated to minimize dehydration during their activity. Dehydration can harm exercise performance. If you’re engaged in moderate- to high-intensity exercise that lasts an hour or longer, a sports drink may be more appropriate than water to replace the electrolytes lost, and to also provide carbohydrates to slow down the usage of your body’s glucose stores. Some research has also shown that consuming sports drinks during long periods of activity can reduce fatigue and improve performance.
Instead of going out to buy a sports drink for your next bout of activity, why not make your own? Renowned sports and exercise dietitian, Nancy Clark, has created a simple sports drink recipe that you could make at home with very few ingredients. So instead of stocking up on a case of sports drinks on your next grocery trip, grab some of your favorite juices to make her recipe listed below!
Also, check out for more great information and recipes from Nancy Clark
Homemade Sports Drink
Recipe: Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook: 3rd Edition, Nancy Clark, MS, RD

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • ¼ cup orange juice (not concentrate) plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 ½ cups cold water


  1. In the bottom of a pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water.
  2. Add the juice and the remaining water; chill.
  3. Quench your thirst!
(Additional tips: This recipe can be made without the lemon juice; however, the flavor will be weaker. Don’t like orange juice? Use the same amount of different fruit juice(s) when creating your own sports drink!)
Nutrition Information: (Makes 4 servings)
Calories: 50
Carbohydrates: 12g
Sodium: 110mg
Contributed by: Devin Miller, Be Well Solutions Dietetic Intern