Hydration Tips for Young Athletes
Never rely on thirst. Thirst is a poor indicator of hydration status. When a young athlete begins to feel thirsty, he or she may already be one to two percent dehydrated.
- Prehydrate. Thirty minutes before activity, drink until you are no longer thirsty plus another eight ounces. For athletes weighing less than 90 pounds, drink five ounces for every 20 minutes of activity. For athletes weighing more than 90 pounds, drink eight ounces for every 20 minutes of activity.
- Water is best if the activity lasts one hour or less. For activities lasting more than an hour, you should drink a fluid with carbohydrates (sugar) and electrolytes. Sports drinks are designed specifically for re-hydration during exercise and contain the right amount of carbohydrates, about six to eight percent. Fluids with too much sugar, such as fruit juice and soda, contain too much sugar and can cause cramping. Athletes younger than 10 years old may dilute a sports drink 1:1 water for a better taste. Avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages because the carbonation may make you feel bloated, and caffeine can speed up metabolism, generating more heat.
- Drink it, don’t pour it. Pouring cold water on your head or face may feel great, but it does not improve your hydration status.