Swimmer Nutrition: A Guide to Children’s Fuel and Energy Needs in the Pool
Health and Wellness
Swimming and swimming workouts require a lot of energy: children can quickly become fatigued if they do not prepare before or do not adequately nourish themselves during a swim session. Here’s what you need to know about children’s fuel and energy needs in the pool.
Eating before swimming. For recreational swimming, the “dangers” of eating just prior to swimming are highly overblown: there’s no real danger, other than a potential slightly elevated risk of minor cramping. Don’t have your children eat a huge meal right before going into the water, but don’t think they need to wait an hour after fueling up with just a snack.
For children who are swimming competitively or performing swimming workouts, it’s better to wait an hour or two after a meal before swimming, or 15 minutes following a snack. The horizontal position can lead to increased gastric influx, which could make time in the pool uncomfortable and affect performance.
How to fuel up. A main meal for children before swimming should feature foods with low-Glycemic Index carbohydrates, including oatmeal, pasta, Greek or regular yogurt, soy or dairy milk, and virtually any kind of fruit. For a quick energy boost before swimming, children should eat foods with high-Glycemic Index carbohydrates, including a large banana, breakfast or nutrition bar, or an apple.
Special note on hydration. It can be a challenge to remember that despite being surrounded by water while swimming, staying hydrated is a vital need for children, as during any physical exercise. At least half a liter of water per hour in the pool is a good baseline for children, but always remind kids to drink water regularly (they typically don’t remember on their own).
Common sense goes a long way in making certain your child is properly fueled for swimming workouts, always be aware of signs of fatigue that indicate lack of nutritional energy. If you have any questions about your child’s energy needs in the pool, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer – our expertise is one reason Texas Swim Academy is a favorite choice for swim lessons in Houston and surrounding communities.