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How to Stay Safe During Summer Sports

Posted on July 07, 2017 by Scott Huntington

It may be summer, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be relaxing 100 percent of the time. Instead, you — or someone you care about — will be playing sports this sunny season.

Because of the warm temperatures and bright skies, it may seem the perfect time to get out onto the field or court. However, it can be dangerous to exercise outside during the summer: athletes often fall victim to dehydration, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke if they’re not properly prepared to get sweaty when the mercury’s at the tip-top of the thermometer.

Want to know how to safeguard your summer sports outings? Here are six ways to keep yourself hydrated, healthy and ready to play all season long.

1. Wear the Right Clothing

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It likely goes without saying, but you shouldn’t be wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants for a summer workout. Instead, choose your most breathable, airy T-shirt and shorts. It’s important, too, to choose pieces in lighter colors: black and other dark colors absorb light wavelengths, transforming them into heat. On the other hand, white and lighter colors reflect wavelengths so heat doesn’t get absorbed into the fabric.

2. Work out in the Morning or Late Afternoon

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Another way to keep temperatures as low as possible is to avoid being outside during the hottest points of the day. Every time zone’s coolest hours will vary, but mid-afternoon is typically the sunniest, hottest part of the day — definitely say “no” to sports during this period and wait ‘til the temperature has cooled off a bit.

3. Ramp up Workouts Gradually

If it’s your first time exercising outdoors this summer, don’t work out for as long as you would on a cooler day. Take a few weeks to ramp your workouts up so your body adjusts and adapts to the temperature in which you’re performing your exercise. Coaches should do the same when leading a team through conditioning workouts, gradually increasing the length and intensity over a two-week period — though three hours is the max length for practice in the high heat.

4. Drink up

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Again, it likely goes without saying, but hydration will be a key part of your summer workouts. Be sure to have plenty of cold water and sports drinks on hand, and stop every half-hour or so to quench your thirst.

Sports drinks are especially crucial in summer because they replenish the nutrients you lose through sweat, keeping dehydration, fatigue and muscle cramps at bay. And, if you reach for a sports beverage post-workout, you’ll feel your energy levels return to their normal levels faster so you can recover quicker, too.

5. Huddle up in a Safer Place

Team sports often require a huddle to discuss strategy, and sometimes, these chats end up taking a few minutes. Rather than stand under the blazing sun, talk shop in the shade, so everyone gets a break for a few minutes.

6. Have a Plan in Case Something Goes Wrong

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Finally, it’s up to you to be prepared in case you or someone with whom you’re training falls victim to a heat-related illness. Educate yourself on the symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps, etc., and know how to handle such a medical emergency.

With this and the above five preparative methods, you’ll be sure to have a safe and active summer. Before you know it, you’ll be slipping on more layers and battling autumn winds and rain, so enjoy the sunny season while you have it — and enjoy it safely.


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