Making sure to include hydration in your game plan.
Hydration and rehydration are extremely important for young athletes. Just as child and adolescent athletes have greater energy needs to keep up with training demands as well as regular growth and development, their fluid needs are also increased. Vigorous exercise leads to sweating and water loss which can cause an athlete to become dehydrated and negatively affect athletic performance. That is why with many sports seasons having multiple practices and games a week, it is important to stay hydrated on and off the court.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration:
- Dark urine or reduced volume
- Reduced sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Chills and clammy skin
- Dizzy and light-headedness
For athletic events lasting longer than 60 minutes, it can be beneficial for an athlete to also rehydrate with a sports drink. Most sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates which help fuel and refuel what is lost through energy and sweat during games and practices. If your athlete doesn’t like sports drinks, you can try refueling during a game or practice with a snack like orange slices which have fluid and carbohydrates, or pretzel sticks, which contain sodium.
Below are the Pediatric Nutrition Care Manual Hydration Recommendations for children and adolescent athletes.
Pediatric Nutrition Care Manual Hydration Recommendations:
- 1-2 hours before the sporting event: 12-22 ounces of cool water or sport drink
- 10-15 minutes before the sporting event: 10-20 ounces of cool water or sport drink
- During the sporting event: 4-6 ounces of cool water or sport drink every 15 minutes
- After the sporting event: 16-24 ounces (2-3 cups) of cool fluids for every pound of weight lost
Usually hydrating during and after an athletic practice or competition comes naturally to most athletes, however, especially with school-aged kids, it can be tougher to maintain their hydration during the day. Make sure your athletes always have a refillable water bottle in their school bag. You can even try setting a goal of trying to finish at least one-two full bottles during the school day so they are well-hydrated when it comes time for their sport!
Although drinks like soda and juice are fluids, they aren’t as helpful as water when it comes to staying hydrated during the school day, although many kids tend to reach for these sugar-sweetened beverages instead of just plain water. If you find that your kid is always reaching for or asking for juice and soda, try changing up the water game during the day like our recipe below. Flavoring water with fresh fruit is a fun and nutritious way to keep up with your hydration game.
Blueberry Orange Sparkling Water
4 Ingredients – 5 minutes – 2 servings
|1/2 cup Blueberries|
|1 Clementine (peeled and sectioned)|
|6 Ice Cubes|
|3 cups Sparkling Water|
- Divide blueberries and clementines into mason jars or glasses then use a spoon to gently crush the fruit. Add ice, then pour sparkling water over top. Enjoy!