How to Stay Safe From the Heat During Hot Soccer Games and Practices
Soccer is a really fun sport and a great way to get your kids outside and exercising on a sunny day. Unfortunately, on excessively hot days or during long games and competitions, the children are at greater risk for dehydration. Not only will dehydration affect their athletic performance, but it can also seriously affect their health and well-being.
It’s very important that all parents and adults involved do everything they can to make sure that every child is well hydrated. If a child becomes very dehydrated and suffers an injury, headaches, or worse, that experience may cause them to want to stop playing. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to make sure that your child and the other children in the game are hydrated and healthy even on the hottest day of the summer.
Hydration Starts the Day Before
When preparing for a long athletic competition or for a game that takes place on a very hot day, you need to prepare and start hydrating your child at least 24 hours before the match. Even if you bring lots of fluids to the soccer game, if your child arrived dehydrated, it will be very difficult for him to perform at his best.
Starting the day before, make sure that your child is drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. The most important parts of the day to hydrate are before going to bed and immediately after waking up, because most fluid loss occurs while you’re sleeping.
Bring Appropriate Drinks to the Game
Not every drink will be the right way to keep your kid hydrated. The best drink is water. This will keep your kid well hydrated, but will not slow or bog them down during a game. If the weather is very hot or if the game is longer than 30 minutes, sports drinks may be an even better choice. The electrolytes will help your child feel refreshed, hydrated, and will prevent muscle fatigue.
Take Sips Early and Often
If your child doesn’t drink any fluids during the course of the game, there is a very good chance that he or she will get dehydrated. Instead, you should encourage your child to take drinks during breaks in play, ends of periods, and halftime. Drinking a lot at once may make it harder for them to perform and run at their best, but a few sips will keep them hydrated without slowing them down.
Watch for Signs of Dehydration
There are many signs of dehydration, and once you suspect a child is dehydrated, you should get them water and fluids as soon as possible. Common signs of dehydration are dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, and muscle cramps. If you think a child is dehydrated, you shouldn’t risk their health. Call a timeout and get them the fluids that their body needs.
Don’t Wait Until They’re Thirsty
Some parents wait until the child says he or she is thirsty before offering a drink of water. Instead, you should encourage the children to drink water even before they are feeling thirsty. The feeling of thirst is your body’s response when you are already dehydrated, and if you kid is feeling thirsty, that means you are already too late. Encourage frequent sips of water or sport drinks through the game or practice, and this will prevent your child from feeling thirsty.
The most important hydration period is the first 20 minutes after athletic activity. This is when your body needs water the most, so make sure you have drinks ready once the game is finished.
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