Go-to Drinks for Keeping Young Athletes Safe and Hydrated
By Registered Dietitian Sarah Doll, Henry Ford Allegiance Prevention and Community Health
Just because the competition has moved indoors, young athletes and their parents still need to know how to prevent dehydration. Keeping kids hydrated is important before, during and after activity because if young athletes go into an activity dehydrated, they are more likely to suffer a heat illness, even indoors.
Teaching young athletes about the importance of staying hydrated keeps them safer now and sets them up for success for future more intense competition and workouts.
Choose the best drink for hydration and activity level.
- Water is all that is needed for activities that are low to moderate in intensity and an hour or less in duration. Avoid sparkling or carbonated water to avoid bloating and discomfort.
- Sports drinks should be used for high intensity activities that last more than an hour, especially if your child is wearing protective sports equipment for sports such as hockey. This is especially important for athletes who have a history of dehydration and/or have a high sweat rate.
- Caffeinated beverages are not recommended for optimal hydration. These beverages pull water from the body and promote dehydration. Beverages in this category include coffee, hot or iced tea, pop and energy drinks.
- Fruit drinks or juices are not the best choice for hydration because they contain too many carbs, too little sodium and they can cause stomach upset.
To stay well hydrated, follow this general rule:
- Drink 16 to 20 ounces of fluid 2 to 3 hours before activity
- Drink 8 ounces of fluid during or after your child’s warm-up
- Drink 6 to 12 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes of exercise
- Drink at least 16 to 24 ounces after exercise
Note: the first 8 ounces should be consumed immediately following activity.
Guidance to support good nutrition for healthy living.
Sarah Doll is a Registered Dietitian supporting healthy eating through Henry Ford Allegiance Prevention and Community Health.