Proper hydration is pivotal to the peak performance and health of your young athlete.
No need to check your watch or your phone. It doesn’t matter what time it is, your child is probably thirsty and they don’t even realize it. Proper hydration is even more important for young athletes.
Getting the right amount of water each day is pivotal for health. It becomes even more important during extended workouts or intense physical activity that often go hand-in-hand with football, basketball, soccer, T-ball and other youth sports. Yes, even for the youngest athletes heading out onto the field of competition.
Factor in the heat and humidity in south Louisiana and, well, you have a perfect storm. It’s no surprise a growing number of children are dehydrated. The concept is rather basic: The more you sweat, the greater the risk of dehydration. Higher temperatures increase fluid loss through sweat. Colder temperatures often mask signs and symptoms of dehydration.
Every person should drink enough water to equal half their body weight in ounces. A less confusing way to say that: If your child weighs 120 pounds, they should drink no less than 60 ounces of water a day.
Increased activity means your child has to drink more water, but how much more? A good rule of thumb is to have your athlete drink 10-16 ounces of water 30 minutes before practice or a game. Then, they should drink 4-8 ounces for every 20 minutes of activity.
Before you reach for that perfectly chilled bottle of flavored sports drink endorsed by your child’s favorite athlete, consider this. Sports drinks are designed to replenish nutrients lost during extended physical activity. They are packed with sodium, sugars like high fructose corn syrup, and nutrients that can be beneficial during or after exercise. In this case, you can have too much of a good thing.
Your young athlete doesn’t want to drink all that water. So, now what? Watery foods, like fruits, vegetables, and fruit smoothies, can provide additional hydration support after an intense workout. But, at the end of the day, water is still your best friend.