Hydration for Kids in Sports






Why is hydration so important?

Kids who exercise often do have different nutrition requirements than those who don’t. Ideally, all kids should be exercising each day however some will naturally be on the move more than others. For highly sporty kids it can be hard to know what “extras” they should be having. This is why we, the Catalyst Dietitian team, are bringing you easy fact sheets to ensure you are doing the right thing for your sporty kid.

Australians are largely spoilt when it comes to sporting culture and climate, especially here in Western Australia. Most sports seasons here overlap dry or hot weather, or conditions that require extra attention to hydration. Hydration is just as important for kids as it is for adults as it relates to safe participation and optimal performance in sport. Dehydration occurs when there is a lack of fluid and electrolytes in the body, preventing the body from cooling down. Once internal temperatures rise, the body responds by shutting down, including stopping the muscles to prevent further overheating. For this reason, dehydration is not only a safety issue, but it also prevents athletes from achieving what they want to in their sport.

What should kids be hydrating with?

If your child is participating in moderate to high intensity sport, you should aim to provide them with up to 600mL of water for every hour they are exercising. This doesn’t mean your child MUST have 600mL an hour, it just means that you should aim to provide that much. For example, if little Timmy has hockey from 8am until 10am on Saturday morning, you should plan to take two regular 600mL drink bottles, one for each hour.

Our tip; freeze one so that it’s still icy cold in the second half of the game.

What about sports drinks?

Children who are engaged in high intensity competitive sport may benefit from the use of sports drinks during exercise or competition, however the safest option is to stick with water as unnecessary use of sports drinks is linked with weight gain. If you or a sports dietitian think a sports drink would benefit your child, make sure it is exactly that; a sports drink. Kids don’t need extras such as caffeine so be sure to provide your child with a hydrating drink, not an energy drink.

Our tip; for after exercise, water with a medium piece of fruit is a better choice than a sports drink.

Would like to know more?

Book an appointment with Front Runner Junior Development Coach and Dietitian from Catalyst Dietitian Alex Dreyer (B.Sc (Mdiet) General Dietetics) ONLINE or call 0478 841 104