The Importance of Hydration For Active Kids
Keeping children well hydrated is vital to their wellbeing, particularly when they’re haring around the place. But do you know exactly what they need?
With the Easter weekend knocking on the door, we know plenty of you will be intent on getting out and about with the family. Even with the unpromising weather which looks likely, there are still a whole host of events taking place to get youngsters out of the house (even if only to a leisure centre).
Did you know…?
Children have a higher proportion of water in their bodies than adults. And because their systems aren’t as sophisticated at regulating body temperature as an adult’s they have a tendency to dehydrate more quickly when engaged in strenuous physical activity. If yours are anything like ours, that’s pretty much every waking moment!
So even when the weather is damp and somewhat chilly, it’s important to keep an eye on how much your children are drinking. It’s equally important to watch what they’re drinking, as all drinks are not created equal…
So how much is enough?
There are a number of factors which come into play, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But nutritionists recommend that children should drink around 7-8 glasses of fluid a day.
How much in each glass? For older kids each glass should contain at least 250ml, whereas for youngsters it would be a minimum of 150ml. Naturally, if the weather is roasting or you’re in a particularly hot environment – our local sports hall is generally hotter than the surface of the sun all year round – use your judgement and adjust their intake accordingly.
What kind of drinks are best?
Water: of course, water is always the best choice as it contains no tooth-rotting sugar or unnecessary calories. But as every parent knows, it’s not always easy to get children drinking water. “Meh, too booooring…”
Fruit juices: smoothies and fruit juices have the benefit of containing lots of lovely vitamins, so that’s a plus. However, they also have a lot of naturally-occurring sugars which aren’t good in large quantities. You’re best to either keep to 1-2 small glasses a day or dilute fruit juices with water.
Milk: as long as your children have no dairy allergies, milk is a decent alternative. Most children will happily drink a glass of milk and it’s filled with lovely bone-strengthening calcium. The exception, of course, is sugary milky drinks like milkshakes. Those should definitely only be used as occasional treats, not for general hydration.
Sports drinks and energy drinks: Nope. Too much sugar again. Energy drinks can also contain caffeine and other stimulants, so that’s a definite no for young children.
And the winner is…
Perhaps unsurprisingly, water. Any responsible authority you ask will recommend water as the single most beneficial form of hydration for active kids. If your children find water too dull, sweeten the pill by alternating a glass of water with one of watered-down fruit juice or milk.