Samantha Hvasta, DPT
Safe summer conditioning: Preventing heat-related illness
As children and teens begin pre-season camps and general training for fall sports, the heat and humidity of the summer months should be considered. Creating a healthy and safe training season can be accomplished with good preparation and some tips from the experts at NovaCare Rehabilitation.
Heat-related illness is a serious but preventable health issue that affects many athletes each year. Regardless of the level of physical conditioning, caution must be taken when exercising in hot, humid weather. Athletes of all ages and abilities need to understand the evaporation process when preparing for fall sports. Evaporation occurs as the sweat glands in the skin allow water to be transported to the surface, where it evaporates and cools the body. When the temperature and radiant heat of the environment become higher than body temperature, decreasing body heat is dependent on the process of sweat evaporation.
Sweating occurs whether or not the athlete drinks water. And, if water or an electrolyte fluid does not replace the sweat loss over a period of several hours, dehydration will occur. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can result in heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The ability to sweat is impaired when the relative humidity reaches 65 percent of greater during the hot summer months. Pay particular attention to the heat index—a measure that combines air temperature and relative humidity to determine how hot it actually feels outside. The higher the heat index, the more caution you should take when exercising outside.
To prevent heat-related conditions, decrease training intensity on more humid days and move practices to early morning or early evening when possible.
Call your local NovaCare Rehabilitation center today or visit novacare.com to learn more about how our clinical experts can help you. You can contact Samantha Hvasta, DPT, manager at NovaCare Rehabilitation located at the Blueberry Crossing Plaza at (609) 561-5308 or visit novacare.com.