Hydration: Why Water is Important for Growing Bodies

Up to 60% of our bodies are composed of water….
Are your students and athletes consuming enough? 

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For generations, coaches, teachers, trainers, and nutritionists have reiterated the old adage that the human body is made up of 60% water. So, wouldn’t it be logical that that we should consume water frequently as a part of our daily routine? Well, it may be a no-brainer for most of society, however, with youngsters, that is rarely the case.

It pains me to observe young athletes and PE participants begin physical activity without consuming a single drop of water within a day. It’s easy to observe the student athletes who are ill prepared nutritionally and are ill-hydrated.  Their lackluster performances reflect that and are certainly behind the figurative eight ball compared to their properly fueled and hydrated peers. Not only does proper hydration aid in athletic development and consistency, but as the temperatures outside rise, water consumption is more and more important at regulating proper body temperatures and bodily functions. 

Society has been inundated with sugary, inexpensive and potentially addictive drinks that are made far too readily available, particularly when products companies specifically and directly market to the youth with flashy advertisement and celebrity endorsements. The fact is, sugar, carbonated, chemical filled drinks provide the body with very little hydration, have little to no nutritional value and lead to elevated blood sugar, increased risk of obesity and tooth decay.

As educators, particularly PE teachers, we must place a more enthusiastic emphasis on proper and effective means to achieve hydration. We need to counter the flashy advertising ploys made by the major drink companies, by directly promoting water consumption to our youth with our own style of marketing.

Here are a few ideas for how to promote water consumption with your students!

  • Establish a fundraiser to help aid in reusable water bottle purchases for all students.
  • Choose a day to allow students to customize their water bottle, emphasizing creativity and creating a sense of pride in their creation, which would undoubtedly result in students using and filling their bottles between classes.
  • Educate on fun and healthy ways to add flavor to water: adding fruit slices can be a fun and customizable way to add a little natural sweet flavor along with minerals while maintaining proper nutritional value of water.
  • Allow students to create and log journal entries on their daily water consumptions.
  • “DRINKING 8 is GREAT” a slogan to remind students to aim for 8 glasses of water a day.

With all the emphasis placed on nutritional education for our growing youth, we need to urge the importance of proper water consumption and hydration. I’ve observed how vitally important it is for elite athletes to properly hydrate before, during and after training and competition. I believe this mentality can be enthusiastically deployed on to young students to help aid in their physical and mental performance in the classroom and improve their overall all well being, a goal all educators should wish to achieve.

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