As we enter the summer, there are more things to consider when sports conditioning. When practice and activity occur in the heat, a new set of precautions should be considered as you acclimate to the conditions. Acclimating and taking precautions in the heat will keep you healthy and efficient. Added to the consideration of this list is if you are wearing a mask during COVID as that can affect your body temperature. If you can keep your social distance and maintain good hygiene while training it will lower your risks.
Here are 4 tips for Summer Training in the Heat
- Appropriate Clothing
Light colors & evaporation are key in clothing choices. If you choose dark colors you are attracting the rays of the sun AND increasing your already warm body heat. In the heat you will perspire more, and will need to find fabrics that wick away sweat to keep skin cooler. Soaking in perspiration in the heat is dangerous and should be avoided with the right fabrics and changes of clothes.
If it’s too hot – change your plans. Modifications to practice must occur when outdoor temperatures are 95 degrees or more. Modifications include changing the time of day to very early in the morning when it is cooler and humidity lower, changing your training location (consider moving indoors), and changing tactics. By removing extra equipment or padding, skipping extended cardio or strength training can help reduce heat on the body. Consider cancelling altogether if these tactics aren’t enough.
Water, water and more water — or carbohydrate sports drinks such as Gatorade® and Vitamin Water®. Avoid any drinks with caffeine or ‘energy’ drinks as those can overheat your body from the inside. You should be well hydrated before, during and after your training. If you are working out longer, you need to take more frequent water breaks. And, take your breaks under cover in the shade if at all possible to allow your body to cool. Wonder how you can be sure you are hydrated? Your urine can give you strong clues. Your urine should be light in color – not dark. If your urine is dark you are likely dehydrated and need to stop.
Learn the signs of heat related illness and injury for yourselves and for others. The telltale signs that you need to stop, hydrate and take cover include:
If you were to continue when these symptoms appear you are at risk of heat stroke. Heat stroke causes your body temperature to rise high enough to cause death. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
Should any of these symptoms occur, stop the activity and act quickly.
Use Ice on the body
We hope that these 4 tips for summer training help keep you healthy and active. And remember the Doctors and staff at Orthopedic Associates of Denver are here to help you live your life fully.