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In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been hot … really HOT! In fact, it’s been the hottest 12 months in recorded U.S. history.
In the first week of July, communities across the continental U.S. saw 2,116 high temperature marks either broken or tied. According to a report from the National Climatic Data Center, the last half of June saw 170 all-time temperature records shattered in the lower 48 states.
For tennis players, this hot, dry weather could mean more time on the court, but it’s not all fun in the sun.
When heat waves emerge they can have adverse effects on many things. Though sunburns and skin chaffing are unpleasant, they’re far from being the most dangerous part of playing under the steamy sun.
What holds that distinction? Dehydration.
Dehydration is the excessive loss of bodily fluid and, if left untreated, can lead to seizures, fainting, and in some cases even death.
The most common way to become dehydrated during the hot summer months, especially out on the tennis court, is through excessive physical activity without drinking enough liquids.
During physical activity your sweat glands become more active, causing your body to lose water. This perspiration is an important process that helps regulate your body’s temperature. Yet, equally as important, is that you replenish your body with the water it lost.
In most cases, drinking water when you’re thirsty will keep you hydrated. However, when one is perspiring, relying on thirst alone is insufficient to maintain hydration. A person must force themselves to drink, even when not thirsty, to alleviate the possibility of dehydration.
Whether people are unaware of the risks or unable to detect the symptoms, each year countless people fall victim to dehydration.
Luckily, dehydration is easy to prevent.
Obviously, be sure to drink plenty of liquids before, after, and during any physical activity. The liquid can be either water or a rehydration drink such as Gatorade. If you’re experiencing cramping from extreme dehydration, liquids (like pickle juice) with a moderate amount of salt can help your body retain some of the water you are replacing.
Definitely do not drink caffeinated beverages such as cola or coffee. Caffeine increases urine output and makes you dehydrate faster.
If you feel any symptoms of dehydration, such as dizziness, headaches, lethargy, or fainting, immediately stop what you are doing, find a cool spot, drink plenty of fluids and, if severe enough, call 911. You won’t be an all-star athlete if you’re no longer alive!
Of course, the best way to avoid dehydration is to stay indoors. This argument, however, seems fruitless as it’s impossible to keep tennis players indoors when the sun is out and the court is empty.
So, when you do go outside, be sure to wear only one layer of lightweight, light-colored clothing. Our Helix Shirts are a great option for tennis players to keep cool this time of year.
Bottom line, whether you’re outside playing tennis or inside at your work, whether it’s 100 degrees or the middle of winter, always keep hydrated.