Youth Athletes More Likely to Be Dehydrated

Strength and Conditioning

As a coach I have always pushed water breaks, despite the fact that some kids take the extra freedom as a chance to goof off. Not only are water breaks a good way to break up a session for kids who might otherwise push themselves too hard, but I also always believed that youth athletes need more water. According to a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, I was more right than I realized.


While there is a lot of scientific evidence showing that adult athletes often undertake sports in a less-than-favorable state of hydration, there isn’t as much evidence regarding whether or not youth athletes are in the same boat. Children are often less sensitive to subtle subjective measures of health, so it’s important to have a better understanding of some of the basic factors impacting their well-being and performance.


To test dehydration, the researchers used two urine scales. The first is called urine specific gravity, which is a measure of how many solutes are in the urine. Typically in healthy people, the more dilute the urine is, the more hydrated the person is. The other scale was a urine color scale, which was exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve ever tried to drink a gallon or more of water a day, you’ve probably noticed the urine color scale yourself.


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