The importance of hydration for good health and properly functioning body systems cannot be overstated. As the warmer months approach and outdoor activities increase, special attention needs to be given to proper hydration and to the prevention of health illnesses. To prevent dehydration in young athletes, it is importance to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a workout. An athlete’s performance can be impacted by even mild dehydration. An athlete can be at risk if they do not get enough fluids to replace what is lost through the skin as sweat and through the lungs while breathing. The majority of youth athletes are dehydrated before they start playing sports. Dehydration in athletes may also lead to fatigue, poor performance, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping.
So, how much water should young athletes drink? It depends! Water intake is based on several variables, and will vary according to the needs of the individual athlete. General considerations of hydration might be based on the length of the activity, environmental conditions such as heat and humidity, the length and intensity of the practice or game, and the gear the athlete may be wearing, such as football or hockey gear. Proper hydration is helpful for achieving the best performance in athletes. Adequate fluid intake is also helpful for recreational exercisers to exercise at their best. The American College of Sports Medicine provides guidelines for athletes regarding proper hydration and fluid replacements. Check out ACSM website for more information on hydration guidelines… http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/selecting-and-effectively-using-hydration-for-fitness.pdf
Water should be readily available and consumed before, during and after a practice or game.
Sports drinks are good for activities lasting longer than 90 minutes to replace sugar and salt as well as water.
Don’t like the taste of water? Try mixing fresh fruit or lemon wedges to naturally flavor your water.