Bianca Castro

Experts Suggest Water, Not Sports Drinks, for Children

There's a good chance your children are spending a lot of time outdoors, but what's the best drink to keep them hydrated?

Water, not sports drinks, experts say.

Noel Williams, performance dietitian at Children's Health Andrews Institute for Sports Performance, says many parents think their child needs a sports drink if he or she is playing outside.

"You see athletes drinking sports drinks. You have kids who are athletes, so they automatically think, 'Oh, my kid's playing sports, they need a sports drink,'" Williams said.

That's often not the case.

Williams says for most children, from elementary age to high school age, water is enough to keep them hydrated.

"For overall general hydration, or any time you're training for an hour or less, or it's just low intensity training, or if you have the ability to eat snacks – like in the dugout – you're getting fuel and getting in the extra sodium and minerals you need from those snacks," Williams said.

If your middle or high school athlete is doing high-intensity training, is training for longer than hour or training outdoors, he or she may benefit from a sports drink.

"Those are situations where a sports drink does provide the extra carbs to fuel that intense workout or that long practice, as well as the sodium that you're losing from your body in sweat," she said.

Sports drinks that are sugar free or sodium free may not have minerals your young athlete needs to replenish and re-hydrate.

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