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Sports Safety - Staying Hydrated During The Heat

iStock Photo/Sports Moms Illustration

A heatwave has settled in for most of the nation. Many areas have smashed previous summer records. If you have to be active and outside, the best time for that would be early morning, but if you have to be in the sun, stay hydrated.

When the sun is high and heat is on the body tries to cool down by sending more blood to circulate through the skin, that leaves less blood for your muscles and that can lead to a faster heart rate. In high temperatures our natural cooling systems don’t work as effectively and if an athlete neglects to drink water, heat related illnesses can occur.

Naturally, the body needs more water in the heat because of the sweat factor. If your mouth feels dry or sticky, find water. Without water you can become lethargic and fuzzy-headed. Mild hydration reduces a person’s ability to think clearly and hampers athletic performance.

We need 16 to 32 ounces per hour of water when outside and active in the heat. During the sizzling summer days, keep a water bottle nearby all the time. Invest in a stainless steel insulated cup with a lid and keep it full with ice and water. These cups are so well designed, you can keep it in your hot car for a few hours and the ice won’t melt. Drink from it all day.

If you don’t like the taste of regular water, add some fruit or herbs. For a tasty alternative, try real fruit juices with high water content like tomato and watermelon. Drinking iced coffee won’t help much. Coffee is a diuretic as is alcohol. A healthy habit is to start and end your day with a glass of water.

The smart move is to plan your workout or game away from the hottest time of the day. Don’t risk heat stroke or exhaustion just to burn a few calories.