Being a parent, you must have asked yourself multiple times why kids should be hydrated during physical activities. Moreover, how do I know that my child needs water?
Well, 70 % of our bodies comprise of water. It makes up a major portion of our blood, organs, and muscles. Water is as important for the survival of a human being as oxygen is. All in all, it is the cornerstone of a person’s body.
Kids need to be hydrated more than adults do. During sports or other exercises, their body sheds fluids like sweat. That is why they are at great risk of dehydration.
Kids, never themselves, are vigilant about what they need or when they need it. So, it is up to parents or care-takers to make sure that their bodies get enough water to avoid dehydration. For maintaining the top shape of kids for sports, they should be hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
In this article, we will see the importance of water for a kid during sports or exercise and how to crack how much liquid he needs to sip during that time.
What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?
The severity of dehydration ranges from mild to critical and even life-threatening if it is left unheeded. Dehydration occurs in three levels, i.e., heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
In young athletes, dehydration can result in poor performance, weariness, fatigue, and bad temper. Moreover, continuous dehydration may lead to medical complexities.
Dehydration may cause the following symptoms;
- Muscle cramping in arms, legs, and abdomen
- Dizziness and weakness
- Triggered heartbeat
- High temperature
- Emotional volatility
Importance of Hydration During Exercise
Being young and energetic, it seems impossible for children to sit tight. Their bodies are always at work. Whether a child is playing football, running around, or working out in school, they are constantly sweating.
It is the duty of the parents or the carers to check on them and make them sip on some fluids at short intervals to keep their water levels maintained.
Let us see what does proper hydration does for a young athlete;
Keep Body temperature under control
During sports or exercise, the body of a child leaks fluids through sweat. Due to excessive sweating, body water level continues to fall; hence body temperature begins to rise.
If the drained fluids are not replaced, the temperature could go critically up as body temperature in children increases swiftly as compared to the adults.
Therefore, children need to be hydrated sporadically to keep them going and prevent dehydration.
Ensure Optimum Performance
It is an undeniable fact that water runs tings in our body. Whenever the body is running low on fluids, it starts behaving weary. It triggers muscle cramping, tiredness, headache, and other similar sensations.
When a kid is sufficiently hydrated, his mental and physical performance hits maximum. He can make wise decisions and move around fast. Moreover, adequate fluid retention supplements in optimal heart rate as well as it keeps body temperature at normal.
How Much Water to Sip in?
How much water a kid should inevitably drink during physical activity depends upon various factors such as body size, temperature, and humidity levels and intensity of the exercise.
Always remember that never rely on thirst to drink water. In fact, dehydration instigates thirst, in the first place. Just make your child sip water at short intervals.
American Association of Pediatricians suggests;
- 5 oz. of fluids every 20 minutes for an 88-pound child
- 9 oz. of fluids every 20 minutes for a 132-pound young kid.
In the following are some general recommendations as to how much water a child should sip on during physical activity;
- 16 – 20 oz. of fluids some 2-3 hours before exercise
- 5-10 additional oz. of fluids 10-20 minutes before exercise
- 5-10 oz. of fluids every 20 minutes during exercise
Does Dehydration Effect Urine?
Yes, you can analyze if your kid has low fluid levels by checking his urine color. If the urine is less and dark in color, your kid is running low on fluids and needs to be hydrated.
If the urine appears lemonade like in color, then the kid is appropriately hydrated.
Here it is important to know that you can let your kid have flavored juices once in a while in addition to water to keep them hydrated. Kids could get bored of drinking water alone all the time and may try to avoid drinking it at all.
Don’t Let Kids Overhydrate; Hyponatremia
Encourage kids to drink water and fluids but not to over-hydrate themselves. Yes, kids could get overhydrated when they drink more than their capacities. This condition is known as “Hyponatremia.”
Over-hydration or Hyponatremia occurs when kids drink excessive water without proper sodium substitution; hence sodium levels go low. This condition could even lead to critical consequences.
To avoid Hyponatremia, you should follow the guidelines below;
- Never fill up kids belly with water before the game. Just let him have one or two small sips that too at least 10 minutes before the game.
If he super-hydrates himself, he would feel the need to urinate awkwardly during the game.
- Give the kids salted foods and fluids such as oatmeal, soup, pretzels minimum 90 minutes before the game or exercise.
- Make him drink stamina sports drinks with high sodium quantities than normal sports drinks.
- Do not let him drink excessive water during the game or exercise.
We all know how hectic it is to get kids to do something they won’t do by themselves, let alone making them drink water. But your kid’s nourishment, as well as mental and physical development, is dependent upon him being properly hydrated.
Especially, when a kid is indulged in physical activity more often, his body sweated fluids should be substituted by water. Water is what would keep his energies up, hence push him going.
Having explained the importance of water for a kid during sports or exercise, you should not forget that excess of everything is bad. Overhydrating would expose him to a very serious condition, i.e., Hyponatremia.
So you need to keep a check on your kid’s hydration levels and never let him dehydrate or overhydrate.
Takeaway; Tips to keep your Kid Hydrated
It must be a whole of a struggle for you to keep your kid hydrated.
Follow these simple rules to keep your kid hydrated;
- Pack him a water bottle for school
- Give him water rather than fizzy or sugary drinks
- Teach them at home to drink water intermittently
- Remind them to take a sip of water before the game or exercise
- Give them some salty snacks after the game
- Mix lemon or herbs in water to make drinking water exciting and fun for them
- Avoid sports electrolyte drinks
Author Bio: Umair is a final semester law student. He loves to read and write about health issues and guides. He’s a freelance writer along with his education.