As summer continues many of us are eager to participate in outdoor sports and exercise. It's essential to take precautions to protect yourself from heat-related illness. This blog contains tips for athletes and exercisers to stay safe, optimize performance, and enjoy their activities during the hottest months of the year.
Exercising in high temperatures can put you at risk for a variety of heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to exertional heatstroke. These conditions occur when the body's cooling mechanisms are overwhelmed by the heat, resulting in dehydration, elevated body temperature, and potentially life-threatening changes.
It is crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses which include:
Staying hydrated when exercising in the heat is very important. Adequate fluid intake helps maintain body temperature, support heart function, and prevent dehydration. Before going out to exercise or play sports, ensure you're well-hydrated by drinking water or electrolyte-rich drinks. During activity, drink fluids at regular intervals, even if you do not feel thirsty. Choose sports drinks that contain electrolytes to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.
Consider the timing when planning outdoor activities during summer. The sun is most intense from late morning to late afternoon so scheduling workouts in the early morning or late evening can help minimize exposure to the hottest parts of the day. If possible, choose shaded areas or indoor facilities with proper ventilation to protect yourself from direct sunlight and reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Wearing appropriate clothing can make a significant difference in staying cool during physical activity. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics like moisture-wicking materials that help keep your body temperature regulated. Light-colored clothing reflects the sun's rays, reducing heat absorption. It's a good idea to wear a hat and sunglasses to shield your head and eyes from the sun.
It’s important to listen to your body's signals, especially when exercising in the heat. Pay attention to make sure you do not develop those symptoms listed above and if you experience any symptoms of heat-related illnesses, stop your activity immediately, find a shaded area, and rehydrate. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention promptly.
Before engaging in intense physical activities in the heat, it's important to acclimate your body. Start with shorter and less intense workouts and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time. It can typically take up to two weeks to acclimate well to exercising in the heat. This approach allows your body to adapt to the environmental conditions and enhances your ability to perform in the heat. Additionally, consulting with a sports medicine physician can provide personalized guidance on training and acclimatization techniques.
Exercising and playing sports in the heat can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience if done safely. By following these tips outlined above, you can protect yourself from heat-related illnesses and optimize your performance!
A+ Athlete Sports Medicine physicians compassionately welcome new & existing patients to the practice, & look forward to reducing pain & discomfort, & promote natural healing. Our patients visit us from throughout central New Jersey. Our Robbinsville office is conveniently located for those from Robbinsville, Hamilton, East Windsor, West Windsor, Plainsboro, Allentown, Cream Ridge, Jackson, Bordentown, Burlington Township, Lawrence Township, Ewing Township and more. Our Neptune Township location is conveniently located for those from Neptune Township, Asbury Park, Wall Township, Ocean Township, Belmar, Point Pleasant, Tinton Falls, Long Branch, Manasquan, Brick Township, Toms River and many more. To schedule an appointment at A+ Athlete Sports Medicine, call the office or use the online booking feature today.