Spring sports have kicked off and your kids are full of energy and sweatier than ever. Although all you can think of is squeezing in showers and baths before bedtime, calm your mind knowing that all of that sweat means your kids just reaped some really good health benefits.
Alissa Conde, M.D., sports medicine physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, says that when your kid (or anyone) sweats, that could be an indicator that she has reached optimum levels for physical activity benefits, known as moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA).
“When the body sweats, it ha reached a core temperature which is then subsequently cooled down via evaporation,” Conde explains. “We know that 60 minutes of MVPA a day brings many cardiovascular, bone health and mental health benefits.”
In addition to all of that, the benefits of working up a good sweat goes on:
• Sweating is a tool for the body to control its temperature. As body core temperature rises with activity, sweat jglands create sweat which via evaporation lifts heat and cools the body, helping to avoid exercise-related heat illnesses.
• Sweating clears excess micronutrients, hymetabolic waste and toxins. Enough said.
Does your child go through more water bottles during the warmer months, especially during intense activities? When kids sweat, their body is not only cooling off, it is losing water. Therefore, keeping up the right amount of liquids is very important in order to prevent overheating or heat exhaustion.
“Keeping up with hydration builds in natural breaks for rest and recovery during play,” Conde says.
Kids should take a water break every 15 – 20 minutes when participating in activities, she continues. During that break time, they should be taking in about four to eight ounces of water. Then, after about an hour of MVPA or any organized sport, they can drink a 50/50 mix of water with a sports drink to add in some needed electrolytes. Of course, you can’t forget the snacks. Having a good, nutritious snack and some complex carbohydrates (bread, for example) is just as important. Conde says eat a healthy snack about two to four hours
before any prolonged activity or sports practice. This helps provide energy and avoid undue stress on vital organs.
CAN A KID SWEAT TOO MUCH?
The amount a kid sweats depends on the kid, but many factors do come into play: fitness level and baseline health or some combo of those.
“If you notice your child often sweats through their clothes, they are sweating in situations where others are not sweating, or have overly sweaty hands making it hard to grip sports equipment or toys, then contact and discuss with your primary care provider,” says Conde.
Getting red in the face at times is normal due to an increase in body temperature, however, in extreme heat this could suggest heat illness, warns Conde.
“Monitor for hot and dry skin, hot and overly sweaty skin, nausea and lightheadedness. If these symptoms occur, please get evaluated right away.”