It’s that time! Back to school means one thing, back to sports. Ballet, gymnastics, and soccer prevail in our home, and we’re always searching for the perfect snacks to fuel our littlest athletes. But equally important is hydration.
As most people know, hydration is key for fueling our young athletes. Miami Dolphins Team Nutritionist Mary Ellen Bingham told me, “Kids need fluids before, during, and after exercise to cool the body, lower their core body temperature, and prevent sickness and dehydration. It also improves mental focus and protects with muscle recovery.”
But how much water or electrolyte drinks is enough? Thankfully Bingham breaks it down for us by age.
DAILY FLUID INTAKE
(This is what your child needs daily.)
- 4-6 cups (32-48 oz) for 6-12 years old
- 7-11 cups (56-88 oz) for 13-18 years old
Here are fluid recommendations for exercise:
- BEFORE SPORTS: 1-2 hours prior, 4-8 oz of water (6-12 years old), 8-16 oz of water (13-18 years old)
- DURING SPORTS: 5-10 oz every 20 minutes. Athletes who tend to sweat more will be on the higher end (10) and those who sweat less will be on the lower end (5 oz)
- 1 Normal gulp equals approximately 1 ounce.
- Sports drinks are appropriate for exercise lasting an hour or more to replace electrolytes and carbohydrates.
- After expercise drink 16 oz, per pound lost.
- Bingham also says that many athletes are not weighing themselves pre- and post-exercise, so the average recommendation for replenishing fluids is 24-48 oz post workout.
This fluid calculation for children may help you determine what your child needs!
the performance project
Recently, I had the chance to meet and work with Dr. James Carter and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute at IMG Academy in Brandenton, FL. Check out the Performance Project series of videos we shot with Dr. Carter, and fellow blogger and former TV New Reporter Danielle Smith! There were some really fun experiments where we learned about proper hydration for kids, and Dr. Carter helped break down some myths about the sugar content in sports drinks. (The last one is my FAV…it involves a rocket and a cool drone camera!)
See you on the soccer field! And at the ballet studio…and at gymnastics…and oh yeah the pool…
This is really timely. Not just for soccer season but also allergy season. Drinking fluids helps reduce the side effects of allergies, too.
Crystal Renaud says
So important to keep our little ones hydrated. They are too busy to think if it themselves. We have to be sure that they are getting what they need for those active little bodies!
My 14 year-old us a cross country runner and I preach this all the time(as dio his coaches). . thanks for putting it “on paper!” I’m printing this outut for him to read.
Janine Huldie says
Literally just going through this with my younger one, who fights drinking water. She had to have her physical for school and urine analysis came back that she is dehydrated, because all she wanted to drink was juice. So thank you so much for including the recommended daily intake here, as I can use all the help I can get on this.
This is a constant topic in our family. I send the kids with water bottles to school and tell them to fill it up once again at school! I just don’t think they drink enough there, but when they are with me I pile the H2o on! I have had 2 friends when I was school aged, who went into cardiac arrest and passed away because of heat exhaustion and lack of proper hydration. It is not something to mess around with.
My son is still a little too young, but this is good to know! That’s cool that you collaborated with Danielle Smith. I met her last year at a SITS girls conference. She’s great!
Melissa (Wading Through Motherhood) says
This is so helpful! I get worried about my daughter being at school and not drinking enough water.
Thank you for reminding me to sign my kids up for soccer!! Great job on the videos. That rocket one was really cool!
At MY last physical, the blood work was pretty much fine but definitely showed dehydration. True I was nervous that day, but it changed the way I drink water from that day forward.
My kids are VERY active and very affected without regular water consumption.
Great tips here! My son always gets leg cramps since he never drinks enough! I always have to remind him to stop and drink some water!
Awesome! My kiddos are not in sports….matter of fact, my oldest accidentally picked a pair of running shoes off Zappos with her grandma and when they came, she was so unused to the feel of actually running shoes, she wanted to send them back….no athletics around here outside chicken chasing and hiking! HAHA
BUT I do notice a significant difference in their behavior when they do not drink their water each day. My oldest will complain of tummyaches and being tired. When she was younger and she didn’t get her water, she’d have such bad nausea she’d actually get sick. It was insane. Water became something she needed to do like brushing her teeth! So important to stay hydrated!
Ouch. I knew my kids don’t get enough water (it’s a daily battle), but this just confirms HOW little they’re getting. Even without participating in sports, it’s important for them to get lots of water. Thanks for the reminder and for the details!