Importance of Proper Hydration
At SportsSafe we know that children and teens mature socially, emotionally, and physically through team sports participation. We also know that team sports participation is not without risk. SportsSafe is mindful of these risks and our goal is to provide the safest parameters for your child’s athletic participation. If you walk outside this month, you’ll understand why this risk is on our minds: dehydration from playing sports in the heat of the Texas summer and fall months.
Why is hydration important? Adequate hydration is critical for peak athletic performance, energy metabolism, and body cooling. Children are at the highest risk of dehydration because they absorb more heat from the environment and their bodies generate more heat as well as sweat less. Also, wearing padding and helmets can lead to generation of additional heat, prevention of sweat evaporation, and higher body temperatures. Without adequate hydration and body cooling, a child or teen can suffer from a heat-related illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, all of which are easily preventable.
What are some tips to assure adequate hydration?
- Do not wait to become thirsty to drink adequate fluids. Thirst is not a great indicator of hydration.
- In most cases, drink water, NOT sports drinks. Sports drinks or unsweetened fruit juice diluted with equal parts water, can be okay for strenuous exercise lasting more than 60 minutes. In these cases, these drinks can help provide energy and reduce fatigue though carbohydrates. The best options have 4% to 8% carbohydrates (10–18 g carbohydrates per 8 oz).
- Undiluted fruit juice, caffeinated beverages, and carbonated beverages can cause diarrhea or cramping and should not be consumed during or immediately before exercise.
- Cool water (40°F–50°F), is absorbed most quickly.
- Try adding lemon slices to water if you have a child or teen who prefers flavored water
- Water breaks should be allowed as needed
- Urine should be clear
How much water is recommended before, during, and after exercise, practice, and sporting events?
- Before: 1-2 hours before, drink at least 16 oz of water, then 15 minutes before, drink at least another 12 oz of water
- During: every 15-20 minutes, drink 4-6 oz of water (you need at least 8-12 ounces/half hr of exercise in addition to normal daily requirements)
- After: drink 16-24oz of water per pound of weight lost during exercise