Sun, sports, and Gatorade

I hope everyone had a great weekend. After a rainy Saturday, we took full advantage of a gorgeous Sunday in Colorado.

First thing Sunday morning, we set off for Rocky Mountain National Park. After a couple of false starts (I forgot my camera and Graham had a trailhead meltdown), we were off on an almost four-mile hike to Gem Lake.

The kids did a great job, and we had lots of fun. My broken body (I have to make jokes at this point) even held up pretty well. It felt great to be out hiking, breathing in the yummy air, hearing the gravel crunch beneath my boots, and listening to Graham yell “Supamaaan” every two seconds as he jumped off rocks along the trail.

Yes, really. Every two seconds.

There was also a lot of “rock climbing” and hanging from branches.

It’s hard to tell in that photo, but they are actually hanging high enough off the ground that they needed a boost to grab the branch. Mike worked very hard to get a usable shot, until I finally said, “ENOUGH!”

I remember the good ‘ol days (meaning pre-kids) when a hike meant getting up at dawn, on the trail at first light, and hiking a good ten miles or so. We actually broke a sweat. Here we are in the Catskills, at least seven years ago. Sad thing? Mike still has that shirt.

Those times were awesome, and I miss them sometimes. But, what we’ve got now pretty awesome too. It’s just a lot s-l-o-w-e-r.

Anyway, after our hike we headed back down to the lowlands. The kids and I recharged with car naps, while Mike recharged with Red Bull and sunflower seeds. Yuck.

Sunday night and time to kill? Why not take a family trip to the batting cages?


Not-so-BAM. Still, an enthusiastic effort.

“Ok, ok, nice weekend,” you are thinking to yourself. “Whatever. Why are you telling us all of this?”

Well for one, this blog is a fun way for me to record the things we do, and share it with friends and family who are reading. But also, I wanted to tell you that we did those weekend activities (along with some other random bike-riding, catch-playing, lawn-mowing, and gym-going) without ever drinking any Gatorade. There might have been a gin and tonic (or two) somewhere along the way, but no Gatorade.

I know, I know. We live on the edge around here. But before you get overly concerned about the family hydration levels, let me tell you something: even with all of the activity we engage in, we don’t need anything more replenishing than plain old water. And it’s likely you don’t either. Nor do your kids. Even when they play baseball, or soccer, or spend a day at the beach in the hot, hot sun. Maybe if you do a ten-mile hike. Or run a marathon. Heck, even a half marathon. Then Gatorade would probably be a good idea. But otherwise, not so much.

Despite what the commercials depict, everyday activity does not warrant a specially formulated hydration elixir. Even in Colorado, where the sun feels closer and hotter than other places, and the air is dry, and people tend to get really thirsty. Plain water’ll do.

As parents we worry so much about our kids. We fret about proper nutrition and adequate layers of clothing. We stock our purses with Band-aids and snacks. We check off developmental milestones and peer into mouths for evidence of loose teeth. We even look at poop. C’mon. You know you’ve done it. So it’s normal to feel as though we need to refuel our hot and active kids with something concocted by sports nutritionists. I mean, those kids do sweat a lot. But studies show that unless your kids (or you, for that matter) are taking part in at least an hour of sustained, high-intensity activity, water provides adequate hydration.

Let me say that again: at least one hour of sustained, high-intensity activity.

That does not mean an hour-long baseball game, where their actual run-time may be about 15 minutes total, with lots of rest in between. Nope. I’m talking about a cross country track meet with hot, sweaty, sun-drenched running. That would be the appropriate time for a sports drink to make an appearance. Not half-time at pee wee soccer, and certainly not at lunchtime in the cafeteria after a 30-minute recess.

During the week o’ sugar, I mentioned the secret to cutting back on extra sugar was to stop drinking it. Sports drinks, along with juice, soda and ahem, alcohol, are all sources of extra sugar and calories that we usually don’t need.

Btw, if you are interested in more information on this topic, and enjoy reading dry, scientific text, check out this study published in 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


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