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The Importance of Hydration and It's Impact On Injury Prevention for Youth Athletes

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The Importance of Hydration and It's Impact On Injury Prevention for Youth Athletes

There's one aspect that often gets overlooked but plays a significant role in injury prevention: hydration.

In this blog post, we'll explore the vital relationship between hydration and injuries in a sporting context, focusing on how dehydration can increase the likelihood and severity of injuries and hinder the recovery process. We'll also provide practical tips to ensure your young athlete stays adequately hydrated, reducing the risk of injuries.

The Impact of Dehydration on Injuries

  • Increased Likelihood of Injuries: dehydration can impair an athlete's performance in more ways than one. When the body lacks  sufficient fluids, it struggles to regulate temperate effectively, leading to increased fatigue and reduced coordination. This can result in slower reaction times, poor decision-making, and decreased muscle function, all of which elevate the risk of accidents and injuries on the field.
  • Heightened Severity of Injuries: in addition to increasing the likelihood of injuries, dehydration can also exacerbate their severity. When the body is dehydrated, it's more susceptible to muscle cramps, strains and sprains. Furthermore, the reduced blood flow caused by dehydration can slow down the body's natural healing process, making recovery longer and more challenging.
  • Impaired Recovery: after an injury, proper hydration becomes even more crucial. Dehydration can hinder the body's ability to repair damaged tissues, leading to prolonged recovery times. It can also impair the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections that may arise from open wounds or surgical procedures.

Tips for Optimal Hydration

  • Pre-Hydration is Key: encourage your young athlete to start their hydration routine well before practice or a game. A well-hydrated body performs better and is less prone to fatigue.
  • Frequent Water Breaks: remind your child to take regular water breaks during practice and games. A general guideline is to drink about 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes.
  • Replenish Electrolytes: along with water, it's important to replenish lost electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Sports drinks or natural alternatives like coconut water can be beneficial.
  • Monitor Urine Colour: a simple way to gauge hydration levels is by checking the colour of urine. Light, pale yellow urine indicates proper hydration, while dark yellow or amber urine suggests a need for more fluids.
  • Post-Activity Hydration: after a game or practice, encourage your child to continue hydrating. This helps in replenishing lost fluids and kick-starts the recovery process.

Parents, you play a crucial role in your young athlete's well-being. By understanding the profound impact hydration has on injury prevention, severity, and recovery, you can equip your child with the tools they need to perform at their best while staying safe on the field. With these practical tips in mind, you can help ensure your young athlete stays adequately hydrated, reducing the risk of injuries and setting them up for a successful sporting journey. Remember, a well-hydrated athlete is a healthy, happy and high-performing one!

Stay hydrated and keep safe playing.

Learn more on strength and conditioning for youth athletes and increasing your sports performance on our website and the Inner Athlete Podcast (available on Spotify and YouTube).

Matt Hucul
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Inner Athlete 

#youngathlete #teenathlete #youthathlete #hydrationforyoungathletes


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