Canada’s food guide

Physical activity and healthy eating

Your eating and physical activity habits can have an impact on your health.

Benefits of being active and eating well

The benefits of being active and eating well include: 

  • lower risk of disease
  • better overall health

Learn more about the benefits of physical activity

Learn more about the benefits of eating well.

Take a step towards being active

Eat well and be active every day. Check out the Get Active Tip Sheets for ideas on how to include physical activity into your lifestyle.

How much physical activity you need

Children and youth should get at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity involving a variety of aerobic activities. Adults, including seniors, should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement & Activity Guidelines give more guidance on physical activity.

Nutrition and sports

Along with eating well, physical activity is an important part of healthy living at every age.

Follow these healthy eating tips when being physically active and playing sports.

Eat a variety of healthy foods

Eating a variety of healthy food is important if you are physically active. You probably don’t need extra food or drinks to refuel when you are doing mild to moderate amounts of physical activity. Instead, listen to your hunger cues to help determine when and how much to eat.

If food or drinks are offered regularly at sports games or practices, encourage the coach and parents to:

  • serve healthy options
  • consider if extra food and drinks are needed in the first place

If you are an athlete regularly participating in intense physical activity, talk to a dietitian for nutrition recommendations that are right for you.

Choose water

Water is the drink of choice for regular exercise. Drink water before, during and after physical activity to stay hydrated and replace lost fluid.

Sports drinks are usually sugary drinks. They are not a healthy drink choice to stay hydrated.

Some sports drinks use sugar substitutes instead of sugar. Sugar substitutes aren’t needed for healthy eating. Choose unsweetened drinks like water to stay hydrated instead.

Be aware of marketing

Be aware of foods and drinks marketed to help improve sport performance. This includes products such as:

  • energy gels
  • sports drinks
  • protein powders
  • performance bars

Many of these products can be high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat.

Marketing of these products often targets kids and teens by using celebrity and athlete endorsements. Talk to your kids about how marketing affects their decisions.

Further reading