Spring is here and we turn our attention to outside activities. This is a good time to remind everyone that with exercise we need to hydrate.
Fluid replacement is a key part of a winning sports nutrition plan. Unlike adults, there young athletes have a harder time cooling the body during activity. This means you have a greater chance of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can decrease muscle strength, generic endurance, purchase coordination, and can lead to muscle cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke. Thirst is not a good cue of how much water your body needs. By the time thirst is felt, you may already be dehydrated.
Water is the most important, and often most ignored nutrient for athletes. Water makes up 70% of muscle or about 60 % of body weight and is lost in sweat during exercise, especially in hot weather. Sweating is a normal and healthy way for the body to cool down, however excessive water loss can result in DEHYDRATION and lower your athletic performance.
What should I drink?
To stay well hydrated throughout exercise you will need a MINIMUM of 8 – 16 + cups of fluids per day
|If you are:||Do this:|
|12 – 14 years old||> Choose water, flavoured drinks, watered-down juices or sport drinks.
> Avoid carbonated drinks, energy drinks, and full-strength juices.
> Drink fluids, even if you are not thirsty!
15 – 18 + years old
|> Less than 60 minutes: drink water or flavoured water.
> More than 60 minutes (continuous): drink sport drinks or water with carbohydrates and sodium.
> Avoid carbonated drinks, energy drinks, and full strength juices.
Make Your Own Sport Drink!
250 mL (1 cup) unsweetened orange juice
250 mL (1 cup) water
1.5 mL (1/4 tsp) salt
This gives carbohydrate & electrolyte composition similar to many sport drinks at a fraction of the cost.
- Gatorade Sport Science Institute, “Kids & Hydration: Selecting beverages for active kids”, 2002.
- Bar-Or. (2000). “Nutrition for Child & Adolescent Athletes”. Gatorade Sport Science Institute.