CONTACT: Carol Schliesinger, 210-207-8172
SAN ANTONIO (Aug. 3, 2018) – With temperatures reaching triple digits, it’s important for coaches, youth organizations and parents to be aware of hydration guidelines to prevent young athletes from heat exhaustion. Perspiring helps cool down the body during exercise, however, depending on the temperature, humidity and the intensity of physical activity, young athletes may have difficulties recognizing when to rehydrate. It’s important not to rely on thirst alone. Drinking fluids before, during and after any physical activity is essential to maximizing hydration and athletic performance. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Drink a minimum of 16 ounces of water.
- Avoid carbonated and sports drinks with caffeine and sugar.
- Have a light snack an hour before the activity. This can include yogurt, string cheese, an orange or banana and whole grain crackers. These snacks contain nutrients and electrolytes (carbohydrates, calcium, sodium and potassium) which are important during physical activity.
- Schedule a water break every 15-20 minutes.
- Have athletes drink 4 to 6 ounces of water during each break to ensure muscles stay hydrated.
- Replenish fluid losses by drinking plenty of water. In addition to water, rehydrate with fruits that contain water such as grapefruits, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes. These fruits also provide vitamin C and potassium which are key nutrients for muscle recovery.
Hydration need is dependent on the intensity and duration of the sport. According to the Academy of Pediatrics, sports drinks should only be consumed when there’s a need for rapid replenishment of carbohydrates and electrolytes, in combination with water, during periods of prolonged, vigorous sports activity.
Developing a hydration schedule will help improve and optimize hydration in athletes while minimizing the risk of dehydration. Signs of dehydration include irritability, fatigue, weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, a decrease in urine output and a decrease in athletic performance. It’s important to encourage all athletes to begin their sport training session well hydrated.
For more information on healthy living, visit www.sanantonio.gov/vivahealth.