Summer Workouts and Heat-Related Illnesses
Preventing a Heat-Related Illness
While the summer season can allow you to exercise outdoors when the weather is warmer, it’s critical to be aware of the dangers that heat can bring to your health. Before you go outside for your next workout, here are the top heat-related illnesses you should know about so you can protect yourself.
Heatstroke happens when your body overheats from prolonged exposure to high temperatures during physical exertion. Your body could reach a temperature as high as 104 degrees, which can cause brain damage and damage to the kidneys, heart, and muscles. Anyone who has sustained a heat stroke injury will need immediate medical attention.
Heat exhaustion is caused by exposure to high temperatures. When working out during the hot summer season, combined with humidity, your core temperature (which should be approximately 98.6 degrees), could dangerously rise to 104 degrees. Without proper treatment, heat exhaustion could lead to heatstroke.
Heat cramps are involuntary muscle spasms that are typically caused by heavy exercise in a hot climate. Heat cramps are painful, and the loss of fluid and electrolytes can be a contributing factor. Heat cramps typically affect the arms or calves but can happen to other muscle groups.
Whether playing sports or exercising outdoors, it’s critical to protect yourself from the sun. Sustaining a sunburn can not only cause blistering to the skin and irritation, but it can also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
You can prevent sunburn by doing the following:
- Work out before 10 am or after 4 pm when the sun is not as intense.
- Wear sunscreen of at least a 15 SPF at all times, reapplying every one to two hours.
- Wear protective clothing and gear whenever possible such as a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, or invest in athletic apparel that offers UV protection.
How to Prevent a Heat-Related Illness
Besides the above tips on preventing sunburn, here are some ways you can safely exercise and prevent heat-related illnesses:
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
- Wear light and loose clothing.
- Schedule workout activities for early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are typically cooler.
- Keep your workout indoors during scorching temperatures.
Sports Medicine in Dallas and Fort Worth
Preventing a heat-related illness combined with injury prevention is key to peak performance. If you are looking to increase your overall athletic ability and become a more skilled athlete, Methodist Sports Medicine can help. See our full list of services or contact us for an appointment today.