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What should my child drink during sporting events?

Our oldest again participated on the baseball all-star team this summer.  The tournaments brought to light the importance of hydration during sports – especially in the 80-90 degree weather!

Goals of Hydration: per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Group:  Sports Cardiovascular and Nutrition

  • Start practice well-hydrated by drinking water periodically throughout the day.
  • Keep fluid loss to a minimum during practice and games to avoid dehydration.
  • Replace fluids lost during exercise by drinking immediately after practice or games and throughout the day.

Strategies to Help Young Athletes Stay Hydrated:  per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Group:  Sports Cardiovascular and Nutrition

  • Within the hour before exercise, encourage drinking 8–20 oz. of fluid (water or sports drink).
  • Children need fluids (3–5 oz.) every 15–20 minutes during practice or games and encouragement to drink whenever thirsty. Aim for 12–20 oz. per hour.
  • Provide sports drinks during vigorous physical activity that lasts over an hour or when temperatures are hot to replace fluids and electrolytes. For events under an hour, water is sufficient.
  • Encourage drinking immediately after exercise: 16–24 oz. (per pound lost), or more if temperatures were hot and sweating was heavy. A white residue on the skin or clothing indicates sodium loss and suggests a sports drink to rehydrate.

What we do in our house:

  • Drink a glass of water prior to heading out the door.  Usually this accompanies the meal prior to the sporting event/practice.
  • Ensure the kids drink from their water bottle throughout the sporting event/practice.  With our young kids, we notice the coaches do a good job with water breaks.  During hot games, drink at time outs and between innings. Drink before you get thirsty!
  • During the hot months, we provide the kids with Gatorade-G2 – an electrolyte replacement drink. Heat plus performing greater than one hour demands this hydration strategy.
  • Provide on the sidelines watermelon and orange slices – fruit that can provide hydration with a few extra calories.
  • When the boys come home, we make sure they cool their bodies not only with showers but also by drinking water.  Sometimes salty snacks will also encourage more drinking.

 

For signs of dehydration, read on at: Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration.  Sports performance is complex – making sure your child is on the right step to hydration going into a sporting event/practice is key to success!

BGD July 2013

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