Proper Hydration for Young Athletes

Fall sports are in full swing as kids have headed back to school, and many are spending their afternoons practicing outside in the heat. Staying properly hydrated both before, during, and after practices and games is crucial to prevent dehydration and perform at your best. Dehydration not only impedes your athletic performance, but it can lead to muscle fatigue which can increase your risk for injury, as well as create other serious health risks.

How to Prevent Dehydration

To prevent dehydration, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your practice or game. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints, as well as transports nutrients to give your body energy and keep you healthy. According to the American Council on Exercise, the following guidelines outline the appropriate water intake before, during and after physical activity.

  • 17-20 oz. of water 2-3 hours prior to exercise
  • 8 oz. of water 20-30 minutes before exercise or during your warm-up
  • 7-10 oz. of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise
  • 8 oz. of water within 30 minutes after exercise

Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration

Early signs of dehydration include:

  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Thirst

Advanced signs of dehydration include:

  • Dry lips or mouth
  • Dark urine
  • Decrease in reaction time
  • Dry skin (no longer sweating)
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mental confusion/disorientation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • If disorientation and/or loss of consciousness occur, call 911 immediately to seek medical treatment.

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