The Pitch is active with all sorts of teams giving it their all. The temperatures are coming down a bit and before long, we’ll be into the cool of the fall and winter.
So, a reminder, it doesn’t have to be scorching for our young athletes to become dehydrated. Sweating is the main cause of water loss from the body so when we’re active, we’re losing water. Replenishing water in ourselves is very important. To not do so decreases our performance and makes us susceptible to heat related illness.
Some signs of dehydration are thirst…yes thirst, if we’re thirsty, we’re already dehydrated. So don’t wait for our athletes to complain about thirst before encouraging them to drink water.
Other signs include headache, muscle cramping, irritability, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and decreased performance. To prevent dehydration, our young athletes should be drinking fluids 30 minutes prior to activity, every 20 minutes during activity, and 60 minutes after.
For most kids, taking 10 gulps of water every 20 minutes while active is enough, more for older kids. If the urine is light like lemonade, the person is hydrated appropriately, if it’s darker like apple juice, time to drink. Fluids should be free of caffeine, so absolutely no “energy” drinks, this actually will worsen dehydration. No soda either.
Water is the best, but sports drinks, which include some electrolytes, are also ok. The down side is the amount of sugar they contain. So keep the fluids handy and keep them flowing. As always, play hard, play safe.