Can heat and sport really go together? With the onset of summer, temperatures rise and sports activities can become more tedious and even potentially dangerous: running in 30-degree heat is hard to do without preparation!
Every athlete and sports enthusiast needs to adapt his or her sporting activities to hot weather, and to be aware of the right things to do. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you continue to enjoy your favorite sport, while avoiding the risks associated with the heat.
Understanding the risks of playing sports in hot weather
Although it's more sensible to wait for temperatures to drop, it's not impossible to do sport in very hot weather or during a heatwave, but you need to be prepared. Heat-related risks do exist, and can be a real danger for athletes.
The human body operates at 37 degrees. In hot weather, the body maintains this temperature by evacuating heat through perspiration: this is called "thermoregulation". In order to promote thermoregulation, the blood supply to the deep vessels (those that carry blood to the organs) is reduced in favor of the blood supply to the skin. In a hot, humid environment, evaporation of sweat is more difficult, so the body's regulatory mechanisms can be impaired. The consequences are manifold:
- dehydration, which occurs when the body runs out of water
- heat cramps, generally the result of dehydration and a lack of minerals
- hyperthermia, also known as "classic" heatstroke, due to exposure to ambient heat (heatwave, industrial environment, fire...) or "exercise" or "exertion" heatstroke, due to intense exertion with poor heat evacuation (due to an excessively hot and humid environment or over-insulating clothing)
- early fatigue, due to insufficient water compensation or increased heart rate
- sunstroke, due to prolonged exposure to the sun
To avoid being confronted with one of these situations, it's a good idea to adopt the right preventive measures and tips.
Adopt the right gestures and tips to prevent the dangers of the heat
There are a number of key factors to bear in mind when preparing for summer sports. Certain at-risk profiles are particularly advised not to practice sports in the heat: pregnant women, children, the elderly or frail people (diabetes, hypertension, etc.). We also recommend that beginners and untrained athletes refrain from taking part in sports when the heat is at its peak.
Choosing the best times to practice a sport safely
It goes without saying that it's best to avoid exercising when the sun is at its strongest: between midday and 4pm. And when a heatwave alert is issued and temperatures are at their highest, the time slots are even more restricted: sport is best avoided between 11am and 5pm. So it's best to exercise early in the morning, or as the sun begins to set.
Adapt your sports routine to cope better with high temperatures
It's also a good idea to rethink your sports routine during a hot spell. Rather than practicing an outdoor and/or competitive sport, where the effort will be more intense, opt for sports practiced in the water if you can, such as swimming, aquagym, water polo... Be careful, however, not to neglect the parts of your body that remain out of the water.
Another option is to exercise in an air-conditioned gym. Fitness, weight training, yoga, zumba... it's up to you to choose the activity that suits you best and that will keep you moving and in shape, even in the heat!
As exhaustion occurs more quickly in - very - hot weather, it's best to adjust the time and intensity of your sporting activity, including frequent breaks. Listen to your body and watch out for the slightest sign of weakness or fatigue: don't hesitate to stop your activity immediately in the event of shivering, cramps, dizziness, headaches or any other sign of heatstroke.
Good hydration is essential
Hydration is the golden rule when it comes to getting through the hot season with peace of mind. When temperatures are very high, the body can lose up to 2.5 liters of sweat per hour, making it much easier to become dehydrated. The body therefore needs to be hydrated before, during and after exercise. So be sure to anticipate the quantities of water you'll need during your activity, and take successive sips every 15 minutes or so. The rule remains the same: drink even if you don't feel thirsty.
It's also a good idea to avoid alcohol, coffee and soft drinks before sport, as they accelerate dehydration.
Innovative refreshing clothing and accessories for athletes
Choosing the right clothing is essential when it comes to preparing for sports training in hot weather. Clothing should be loose-fitting, light and breathable, to help the body cool down, and light-colored, to absorb less of the sun's rays.
Far more effective than traditional clothing, our cooling garments and accessories are an innovative solution for sportsmen and women who want to stay cool even when it's - very - hot. Cool towels, cool vests and cool vests are sure to keep you feeling cool during your sporting activities.