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Ask the Experts

The Athletic Trainers at Doctors Hospital's Rehab Health Centers would like to offer the community basic tips and recommendations regarding injury/illness prevention and performance training.

Tips on How to Cope with the Heat

Heat illness is one of the most preventable sports injuries if everyone is aware of the warning signs and treatment.

Warning Signs

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Poor Concentration
  • Light headedness
  • Hyperventilation
  • Muscle cramping

Prevention

  • When competing outdoors, warm-up in the shade and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Rest in the shade or air-condition during breaks or between competitions. 
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton-blend clothing to help promote heat loss. 
  • Acclimatize to the heat prior to regular season competition by preceding it with a period of mild to moderate intensity exercise for 5-15 days. 
  • Limit outdoor activity during unusually hot temperatures and humid conditions. Postpone until cooler times of day. 
  • Allow for sufficient rest periods between activity sessions. 
  • Check your urine color: the lighter the color, the better hydrated you are.

Fluid Guidelines

What to Drink Before Activity

  • According to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, athletes should consume 16 ounces of fluid (2 glasses) before exercise.
  • This fluid should be non-carbonated, non-caffeinated beverage. 
  • You should not just drink when you are thirsty. At this point you have already lost important fluids and electrolytes and may be dehydrated.

What to Drink During Activity

  • During activity athletes should consume 20-40 ounces (3-6 glasses) per hour of exercise. This relates to 5-10 ounces every 15-20 minutes.
  • A helpful hint: an ounce is approximately one "gulp."

What to Drink After Activity

  • You should drink at least 16 ounces (2 glasses) per one pound of body weight lost during activity. 
  • Hydration status can be checked by monitoring urine color. A clear light-colored urine means you're well hydrated.
  • A highly active individual should consume 80-96 ounces (10-12 glasses) of fluid a day. Less active individuals should consume 64-80 ounces (8-10 glass) per day.

Information adapted from Gatorade Sports Sciences Institute and Evaluation of Orthopedic and Athletic Injuries.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Athletic Trainers at 706.651.2270 or e-mail them to John Ellis.