Drink Up: Hydration Tips
More than any food, water is what our bodies need most. That's why it's so important to keep your young athlete well-hydrated on race day. Remember, well hydrated bodies perform best!
Kids can overheat and dehydrate quickly because they're unable to regulate their body temperature as well as adults.1 The amount of fluid lost during a race depends on the weather and how hard your little athletes are pushing themselves. In warm temperatures, high humidity and tough events make sure you're prepared with plenty of liquids—before, during and after the race.
The most obvious sign that your child is getting dehydrated is that they're feeling thirsty. Other signs include headaches, muscle cramping, nausea, fatigue and lightheadedness.2 As soon as you notice any of these signs, have him/her drink water and rest in a cool, shaded area. It's a good idea to keep instant ice packs, ice cubes and juicy fruit on hand just in case.
Staying hydrated throughout an event like the Kids Obstacle Challenge takes a bit of planning and consistency. Kids often need to be reminded to drink, so parents may need to play an active role in encouraging fluid consumption.
Every little one is different, but here are a few, general tips to help keep your racers well-hydrated:2,3
- BEFORE ACTIVITY: Always begin a race well hydrate by drinking 12-20 oz. of water
- DURING ACTIVITY: Aim to sip water every 10–15 minutes during a race
- AFTER ACTIVITY: Rehydrate by drinking 20 oz. of water within 20 minutes after activity; this is when the body is most efficient at refueling
Water is, hands-down, the best drink for children and should be the principal source of hydration.
Sports drinks, like CLIF Hydration Drink Mix, can also be a good choice, specifically for long duration, high intensity physical activity.4 These drinks typically contain electrolytes that are lost with sweating, as well as carbohydrates that deliver quick energy to working muscles. With that said, these types of drinks should only be used when being active, and not as daily sources of hydration.
- Falk, B. (1998). Effects of thermal stress during rest and exercise in the pediatric population. Sports Medicine, Volume 25, Number 4, pp. 221-240.
- Sport nutrition for young athletes. Laura K Purcell and Canadian Pediatric Society, Pediatric Sports and Exercise Medicine Section. Pediatric Child Health. 2013 Apr; 18(4): 200–202.
- Burke, L.M. FLUID AND CARBOHYDRATE INTAKE DURING TEAM GAMES: Research and Recommendations. Sports Science 1999.
- ACSM Position stand. Exercise and Fluid Replacement. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: February 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - pp 377-390.