Keeping your young athlete hydrated can be a challenge during hot weather. Athletes often do not want to be pulled from the field or they become so involved in the game that they simply forget to hydrate. This is where parents and coaches become indispensable in keeping the young athlete healthy.
Becoming dehydrated is a relatively easy thing to do. Dehydration is simply defined as expelling more fluid then you are taking in. Despite this definition, the presence of urination is still very important as it indicates that you have enough fluid in your body to actually produce urine.
Dehydration can also lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and in the most severe cases, heat stroke. None of these is desirable. So, at this point you might be asking how do we prevent these things from occurring and that would be a great question! Here are some simple tips to prevent dehydration and they can be applied to everyone:
Preparation is key. Increase your fluid intake the day/night before a game or physical activity.
Monitor both the frequency and color of urination. A darker color means you need to drink more. See the chart below. If you have been at the park all day and have not urinated then you are probably dehydrated.
Avoid caffeinated drinks or carbonated drinks. Caffeine unnecessarily increases urination and studies suggest that carbonation restricts the absorption of water.
Water and sports drinks are the best liquids to ingest along with healthy snacks.
STAY COOL! Find some shade or sit under a fan whenever possible. This helps restricts perspiration which helps the body to retain water.
Remember, We are looking for lemonade (color)! If you feel thirsty you are probably already dehydrated. The CDC recommends 8 oz of water every 15 minutes!
The goal is to stay hydrated, don’t get behind the 8 ball, be safe, have fun and lets play ball!