Keeping Active Kids Hydrated

As the summer wares on, dehydration can be a problem, especially for children.

A number of factors place young children, and especially young athletes, at an increased risk for dehydration and various heat illnesses. First, the higher energy expenditure of young athletes means that they produce more metabolic heat. In addition, young athletes don’t sweat as efficiently as older athletes and thus cannot cool their bodies as effectively. Finally, young athletes are not as diligent about drinking fluids and their core body temperature, during dehydration, tends to increase faster. For these reasons it is essential that young athletes be encouraged to drink frequently even when they are not thirsty.

Research studies have shown that providing a cooled and flavored beverage produces greater fluid consumption among children and helps prevent dehydration. Parents should make sure that athletes arrive at practice sessions, games or competitions fully hydrated. Coaches should enforce drink “pauses” every 15-20 minutes even when athletes do not feel thirsty. Parents, coaches and the athletes themselves should watch for the “warning signs of dehydration:”

* Thirst
* Irritability
* Headache
* Decreased performance
* Weakness
* Dizziness
* Cramps
* Nausea

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) provides the following guidelines for the maintenance of optimal hydration:

Before Exercise: 16 – 20 full ounces within the 2-hour period prior to exercise

During Exercise: 4 – 6 full ounces

Post Exercise: replace 24 full ounces for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
** As a matter of practice, most people do not weigh their children before and after exercise. Rather than measuring pounds and ounces, it is better to just create a routine habit of drinking 12-24 oz after exercise, depending on intensity.

NOTE: While Sports Energy Drinks taste good, the best source of hydration is still good old fashioned water. Sports drinks are designed for strenuous activity that lasts longer than 2 hours. A regulation soccer match lasts only 90 minutes (at U19 and above). As a compromise a 50/50 mix of sports drink and water can be used. Temperature and humidity are factors, as well as initial hydration levels, so it is a good idea to be prepared with a replenishing drink for shorter efforts as well.

Furthermore, a sports drink, which consists of electrolytes (salts and minerals), sugar, and water, ideally is NOT full of artificial color, artificial flavors, too much sugar, and preservatives.
For a truly healthy, and very easy to make recipe for a sports drink, read the post “The Ultimate Sports Drink” in Electrolytes category.

The Ultimate Sports Drink

(Recipe included)

I recently gave an injured friend of mine a small jar of SOLE (so-lay). SOLE, a saturated salt solution made from Himalayan salt crystals, is natural salt complete with all of the 84 minerals found in the human body. In contrast, regular salt is washed clean of all other minerals leaving ONLY sodium chloride and possibly some iodine added back to it.

“Jack” had torn his hamstring during a baseball game. As he was describing the event, how he felt leading up to it, how it happened, and that it had happened before (and he expected it to happen again), it became clear to me that he was describing chronic dehydration. He drinks plenty of water and plenty of sports drinks, and yet, he was dehydrated. This is more common than you might think. If fluids consumed are not absorbed by the body hydration is not achieved. There are many reasons for this, including improper electrolyte balance.

Jack called me a few weeks later to let me know he was back out on the ball field and almost totally healed. He said his whole body felt different and better. His daughter, also an athlete, shared the new electrolyte supplement with her dad. Since the first day she began to use the SOLE, (instead of drinking commercial sports drinks) she has not had to use her inhaler once!! Yes, that’s right, asthma is directly affected by hydration (read more)!! I can’t emphasize the importance of hydration for health enough. It is fundamental for all cellular functions; joint health, brain function, digestion and elimination, immune function, hormone regulation, and the list goes on and on.

I am inspired to post the SOLE recipe here since it is so effective, inexpensive, and easy to make. It is not, it’s self, a sports drink per-sey, although it will be fabulous in helping to regulate hydration. Sports drinks are a mixture of electrolytes (salts and minerals), carbohydrates (which help with exercise recovery), and water. I found some recipes on line for home-made sports drinks but they were ANYTHING BUT healthy!!! They had ingredients like table salt, white sugar, honey, fruit juice, and even kool-aid mix. I will skip ranting about how bad for you this kind of nutritionally empty beverage can be…This recipe I have posted is guaranteed to be delicious and good for you too.

Preparation of Sole: (I keep a jar of it in my kitchen at all times)

1. Place several Himalayan Crystal Salt stones in a glass container and add spring water until full. The larger the container, the more salt and water you will need so don’t go too big.

2. After approximately 24 hours, look to see if the salt crystals have completely dissolved. If so, add a few more crystals. When the water can no longer dissolve any more salt, the salt crystals will sit at the bottom of the jar without dissolving. At this point the solution becomes saturated at 26%, which is stable and ready for consumption.

3. Take 1 teaspoon of the solution in a glass of water every morning. This is sufficient for the average daily intake. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

• Use only the solution from the top 1/3 of the jar leaving the sediment at the bottom.
• The glass container can be refilled again and again with water and salt, to continue the process.

Linda’s Home-Made Sports Drink Recipe:

• 16oz filtered or spring water
• Juice of 1-2 lemons
• 2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon sole
• For an added kick you can put in a dash of cayenne pepper –which is a vasodilator and will help to keep you cool in hot weather.
Mix ingredients together and keep cool until consumed.

More about my recipe:
I chose all of the ingredients and amounts for this recipe for specific reasons.

–Lemons– are a great source of minerals, especially magnesium and potassium, and very rich as vitamin-C as well. They are full of phyto-nutrients and enzymes and without the high levels of fructose found in other juices. They are also delicious, refreshing, and easy to find.

–Grade B maple syrup– is full of minerals as well. It is an excellent source of manganese and zinc, and also has potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and more. It is important to use Grade B since the lighter syrups are also lighter in mineral content. An additional benefit of maple syrup as a sweetener is that it is sucrose, not fructose which has been linked to metabolic syndrome and decreased glucose tolerance. For the purposes of re-hydration and recovery, a 6% solution is best; too much sugar is dehydrating, too little will not be particularly beneficial in recovery.

–SOLE– is a solution of Himalayan salt, containing all of the 84 minerals found in the human body, and is mined from deep in the earth. Because of this it is free of toxins and impurities.

–Cayenne pepper– is optional in this recipe. Its health benefits include: increased metabolism, improved circulation and heart health, benefits digestive function, immune function, and many others…(read more)

–Spring water– is best, filtered water is second best, and tap water is last choice, especially if it is chlorinated and fluoridated.


I would love to hear your feedback on this topic. I would especially like to hear more stories like “Jack’s”☺, so please send them on after you have tried this!!