Parents throw out the Gatorade. Your kids don’t need it and the majority of you don’t need it. Let’s first look at how much a person runs during an average game in each of the most popular sports played in the United States (from Runner’s World June 10, 2014):
Baseball: .046 miles
Football: 1.25 miles
Basketball: 2.9 miles
Tennis: 3 miles
Field Hockey: 5.6 miles
Soccer: 7 miles
The above number are for adults…. Not kids.
Yes, you can see that that baseball, the American Pastime, has people running the least. Watch baseball and you see people standing around waiting, watching, and sitting. Not a good sport, in my opinion, to take up if you want an active child. This doesn’t mean the sport isn’t fun. It just means that it is not a very active sport in regards to cardio activity. Football, my favorite sport to watch, also has very little movement on average for a player during a full game. Soccer tops the popular sports in regards to how much a player runs during the game.
So what does that have to do with Gatorade and why do I care if people drink Gatorade and in particular kids? Here it goes…. There are quite a few article and studies that show that unless you are running for more than 60 minutes water is a better option (see livestrong.com June 14, 2011 article “which is better for runners: water or Gatorade”). This means that unless you are running for more than an hour you do not have to replace the electrolytes. You have to wonder if your kid is running for over an hour in the sport that he or she is playing. The average run time of each sport presented about were for all athletes not children playing in youth sports. Bottom line it is not needed and will not improve performance.
But it tastes good, maybe. Here is why you should really throw out the Gatorade unless you are running far and should keep it away from your kids. In a twelve ounce bottle of Gatorade (yes I know most of you buy the 20oz bottle for your kids) there are 80 calories and 160mg of sodium.
I didn’t even mention sugar within Gatorade, which is 34 grams of sugar in a 20oz bottle compared to 65 grams in Coke and 69 grams in Pepsi 20oz bottles. So would you or your child drink a can of Coke after a workout? Probably not, hopefully not. Well a 20oz Gatorade has around the same amount of sugar has a can of Coke or Pepsi.
Work out and then drink water.
Run over an hour…. Maybe grab a Gatorade.
Now if you like the taste of Gatorade and want it as a treat like a can of soda that is a whole different story.