Hydration Fact Sheet

Hydration Guidelines

With kids playing exceptionally competitive sports these days, proper fluid replacement is very important. Your body needs enough water to remove heat from working muscles, produce energy, and process food. Keeping well hydrated lets your body perform to its full ability and helps prevent heat illness and cramping. Athletes SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIRST as an indicator of fluid needs. Our body doesn’t feel thirsty until we are already 3 percent dehydrated. At this level, an athlete’s performance will be compromised. Therefore, drinking before you are thirsty is the key to performing well.

What Athletes Should Drink:

  • Water is appropriate for all activity lasting < 60 minutes
  • An electrolyte/carbohydrate replacement fluid (Gatorade, AllSport, PowerAde) is appropriate for activity lasting > 60 minutes, especially in hot weather or for individuals prone to muscle cramping.
  • Athletes should AVOID drinking soda pop, energy drinks, coffee, fruit juices, and other drinks that contain high concentrations of sugar or caffeine.

Fluid Guidelines from the National Athletic Trainers Association:

Before Activity

  • Drink adequate fluid—ideally water—the day before
  • Drink enough the night before so that your urine is light yellow or clear at bedtime
  • Drink at least 16 oz. of water two to three hours before sports


  • Drink 7 to 10 oz. of water or electrolyte replacement fluid (see above) for every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. If your sport does not allow for frequent breaks, than make sure you drink enough during a rest period to account for the time that has passed since your last water break.


  • Drink 24 to 32 oz. of water or electrolyte replacement fluid
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