Since temperatures will soon be reaching their peak, now is the perfect time to brush up on some summer safety tips to help you stay healthy and safe during summer sports and other outside activities.
The first reminder is also the most obvious, and that’s to stay hydrated. Drinking early and often throughout activity keeps your body from overheating and decreases the amount of work your heart has to do to keep up with you. Better Homes and Gardens suggests drinking about 4 to 8 cups of water a day and another cup every 20 minutes as you play.
Don’t forget the sunblock and to reapply, reapply, and reapply again. Know exactly the amount and type of protection you need by checking the day’s UV index to find out what will be the most effective. Also, when possible, try to avoid being outside during the hottest times of day, when harmful sun rays are at their harshest. Schedule games or plan to hit the playground, court, or course either earlier or later in the day. The higher the SPF protection, the better and sweat-proof varieties won’t run off your skin.
In addition to using sunblock, let your clothes protect you from the sun by wearing hats and visors to cover your head and lightweight, well-ventilated clothes that facilitate airflow. Lightly-colored clothing will also help reflect sunlight and an umbrella will also block direct exposure. However, if you are a fan of wearing black or other dark colors, check out Under Armour’s Cold Black collection, with technology that actually reflects the sun’s rays.
Being safe this summer also includes keeping a watchful eye on your surroundings and equipment. High heat can compromise the stability of your running, tennis, or cross training shoes. According to Better Homes and Gardens, stiffer shoes become more flexible. If you overpronate and run in stiff shoes, you may want to switch shoe types, perhaps to a gel or air filled shoe since those are typically less affected by temperature changes. Also, if you've taken the cooler months off from sports, remember to ease back into the game at a comfortable level and increase gradually.
While you’re out taking advantage of the weather, remember that not all weather systems associated with summer are athlete friendly. When the clouds get heavy and start to look dark may mean that a thunderstorm is approaching. At the first sign of lightning, immediately make efforts to avoid being the tallest object in an open area.
While you play and exercise, be sure to continually assess how you or your child feels and check for warning signs of heat-related illnesses. During activity, if you experience fatigue, headaches, nausea, cramps, or dizziness, it could be a sign of heatstroke or exhaustion. Outside the Lines suggests immediately cooling yourself or the other person down and resting in a shaded area or place with air conditioning.
Enjoy fun in the summer sun and be safe as you stay cool, hydrated, and healthy.