With triple-digit temperatures being recorded in many parts of the country already this month, it’s a very appropriate time to discuss heat issues and ways to train in the heat without causing heat-related illnesses. Let’s start with a key point: Heat-related illnesses are 100% preventable. That’s right—it is the one thing athletic trainers and other medical professionals come across that can be stopped before it starts.
Key information and education needs to be relayed to athletes, parents & coaches—if all three groups are on the same page, then the chances of bad things happening go WAY down.
-Drink fluids throughout the entire day: Never pass a water fountain without getting a drink.
-Take in 17-20 ounces of fluids while at home before a game: Take in another 7-10 ounces of fluids while on the way to practice or a game. Take in 28-40 ounces of fluids while participating in practice or a game, and take in 20 ounces of fluid per each pound of weight lost during practice or a game. You should be taking in up to 80 ounces of fluids for each practice or game.
-Keep up with urination habits: You should be urinating frequently. If you are not urinating, you are in grave danger of becoming a heat casualty. Keep up with the color of your urine. If it is a light yellow to a dark yellow color, you are already dehydrated. Take in fluids immediately.
-Take note of you how you feel: If you notice you are having trouble focusing, if you feel sick, or are not feeling right, tell someone. Make sure it is legitimate, and do not use this as an excuse to get out of practice.
-Eating Habits: Make sure your athlete is eating well-balanced meals before and after practice. Hydrating yourself is great, but you must eat right as well. Make sure you are eating the right kind of meals and snacks, as well as taking in the proper types of hydration. Any kind of fruit is great. Your body will use the sugars and convert them into fuel your body can use. When playing sports, you need to ingest more carbohydrates than proteins and fats. Your body is using and building muscle when you are active, so you need to help your muscles by taking in high carbohydrate meals.
There are a lot of water and hydration properties in fruit. For instance, if you eat an apple, you are taking in the fluids which will help rehydrate your body. You also need to take in high fiber meals. Eat a lot of pasta and breads. High carbohydrate and low protein drinks are fine. You need more carbohydrates than you need protein. Studies have proven that low fat chocolate milk is better for you than sports drinks like Gatorade when used as a recovery drink. It has the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.