Wondering how much water should young athletes drink? Use this really cool water calculator and also learn on the When and What of Water for Young Athletes!
Water is your best bet!
Water is a nutrient. It does not supply calories, but without water, most people could not survive more than a few days. Your body is about 55 to 70 percent water, about 10-12 gallons.
Water’s Role in the Body
Regulating your body’s temperature is the major function of water. During activity water keeps the body from overheating. Water helps nearly every part of the human body function efficiently. Water also:
• Helps alleviate headaches and dizziness caused by dehydration
• Helps with breathing
• Carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body
• Moistens oxygen for breathing
• Protects and cushions vital organs
• Helps to convert food into energy
• Helps the body absorb nutrients
• Removes waste
• Cushions joints
The thirst mechanism is not always a reliable indicator of your body’s need for fluid. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily. Eight to 10 – 8 oz cups of water per day are recommended.
To fit this into a child’s day, include:
• 1-2 glasses per meal or with snacks
• 1-2 cups before exercise
• ½ – 1 cup every 15-20 minutes during exercise
• 1-3 cups after exercise
• If a child is sick or sweating, a lot more water may be needed.
Check out this really cool water need calculator….
Is My Child Getting Enough Fluid?
The simplest way to tell if a child is drinking enough is to check the color and amount of urine excreted. If urine is clear, normal water balance has returned. If urine is dark, drink more water. Kids should drink on a schedule, not when thirsty. Your child need to regulate his fluid intake by drinking according to a schedule rather than in response to thirst, because thirst is not an accurate measure of a child’s need for fluid. By the time your child says he is thirsty, he is already dehydrated. Consuming cool fluids at regular intervals during exercise protects your child’s health and optimizes athletic performance
Can My Child Drink Anything Else Besides Water?
Yes, but the most important fluid is water. If a flavored beverage is preferred try these options:
• Decaffeinated beverage (caffeine acts as a diuretic, causing water loss)
• Unsweetened flavored waters
• 100 percent fruit juices (no more than 8 oz per day)
• Fruit juice diluted with water
• Strenuous activities that last more than one hour may warrant a sports drink.
Why Traditional Sports Drinks are a bad idea…
Most people believe that sports drinks are the best alternative to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes when exercising, but that’s simply not true. Many sports drinks contain as much as two-thirds the sugar of sodas. They also typically contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial flavors and food coloring, none of which contribute to optimal health. function.
Coconut Water as an Alternative
Another excellent option when you’re sweating profusely is pure coconut water. It’s one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man. Some remote areas of the world even use coconut juice intravenously, short-term, to help hydrate critically ill patients and in emergency situations. And, if your sports drink is low-calorie and sugar-free, be warned that it likely contains an artificial sweetener which is even worse for you than fructose.
How Can I Ensure My Child Gets the Recommended Amount of Water Each Week?
• Drink one glass of water with each meal and snack.
• Carry a water bottle.
• Fill a large bottle or container, and keep it in the refrigerator to drink
from during the day.
• Keep track of how much water is consumed.
Hydration Before, During, and After Sports
Young athletes need to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can decrease a child’s strength, energy and coordination and can lead to more severe complications such as heat-related illness. Your child’s athletic performance can be affected even by mild dehydration.
One of the most important functions of water is to cool the body, especially during exercise. As a child exercises, his muscles generate heat, which leads to increased body temperature. As this happens, the child will begin to sweat. When sweat evaporates, it cools the body. If the child does not replace the fluid lost from sweating, his water balance may be disrupted, causing the body to overheat.
While exercising outdoors, your child may be exposed to abnormal or prolonged amounts of heat and humidity. Inadequate fluid intake can cause various types of heat-related illness which may require immediate medical attention. Children often do not think to rest when having fun and may not drink enough fluids when playing, exercising, or participating in sports.
Thirst is not a reliable indicator of hydration status. Experts recommend that children and teens drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity. It is also important to drink afterwards to restore fluid lost through sweat.
• Drink 4-8 oz of water one to two hours before activity.
• Drink 4-8 oz of water 10-15 minutes before activity.
• Drink 5-9 oz of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes.
• Drink at least 24 ounces of water or sports drink for every pound of weight lost within two hours after completion of activity.
The following are signs your child may be dehydrated:
Dehydration can cause serious side-effects. As a child becomes dehydrated, their heart rate increases, blood flow to the skin decreases, and body temperature can rise to dangerous levels. Heat-related illness is a potentially life-threatening medical emergency.