Why Your Child Needs To Be Hydrated
A young athlete’s hydration is critical to their safety and success in sports. The human body consists of between 50% – 75% water depending on factors such as age, gender, and body fat percentage.
For all of us, water helps with things such as digesting our food without discomfort, circulating our blood, and transporting nutrients throughout our body.
For athletes and, in particular, young athletes, water is essential to high performance. It helps bring the proper amount of blood to muscles when they are in use, preventing extra strain and cramps. Water will also help your child’s muscles get the proper nutrients for recovering.
How To Make Sure Your Child Is Hydrated
Drinking enough water to prevent dehydration is not something that can be done on the way to practice. A body needs time to absorb and disperse it. Below is a chart to help decide how much water your young athlete needs before, during, and after their exercise, whether that means practice, a run, weight training, or a game.
|Adolescents (about ages 13 to 18)||Kids (about ages 6 to 12)|
|2 hours before participation||16 oz||8 oz|
|20 minutes before participation||8 to 10 oz||4 to 8 oz|
|While participating||6 to 12 oz/20 min||4 oz/20 mins|
|20 to 24 oz within 2 hours for every pound lost||16 to 20 oz within 2 hours for every lb lost|
The water your child drinks 2 hours before their activity creates a nice foundation so their body can be operating at a high level from the start of their activity. The consumption of the 8oz or 16oz, respectively, can be a single glass or multiple drinks throughout a short period.
20 minutes before their activities, your child should drink water (8 to 10 oz for adolescents and 4 to 8 oz for kids) to prime their body for the upcoming extra stress it will endure.
While participating in an activity, it’s important to replace the water lost from sweat. Since it is impractical to try to measure the number of ounces of sweat your child loses, a good rule to follow is that an adolescent should drink 6 to 12 oz for every 20 minutes of activity, and a child should drink 4 oz for every 20 mins of activity. It’s important not to drink too much because that can cause them to feel heavy, and even nauseous, which can hinder performance.
To complete a full cycle of hydration, adolescents should drink 20 to 24 oz of water within 2 hours of the activity for every pound lost during the activity, while children should drink 16 to 20 oz within 2 hours for every pound lost. This is to help with recovery and bring their body back to a healthy level of hydration.
Proper athlete hydration is just as important as practicing new skills when it comes to reaching peak performance. Just like like shin guards and helmets, water is an essential part of keeping your child injury free, so remember to encourage your children to drink the right amount.