Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Play Tennis in the Heat of Summer

As you know, tennis can really get your heart pumping and body sweating, but in the Summer it can sometimes be too much because of the heat.

Nobody wants to have to sit inside though—they want to play the game they love. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to stay safe when it’s hot out.

Stay Hydrated

The biggest risk from playing tennis outside in hot weather is heat exhaustion. This is when the body’s core temperature begins to rise above the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It can induce nausea, dizziness, cramps, and even fainting.

If left alone, heat exhaustion can turn into a heatstroke. A more serious medical condition that can lead to permanent damage to the body. All in all, an unpleasant experience to be avoided.

One of the biggest causes of heat exhaustion is dehydration. To prevent dehydration, you should bring several cold bottles of water and/or sports drinks with you on the court.

In between every game, or changeover, you should drink enough water to where you’re full. Even if you’re not thirsty, you should drink. It is a good insurance against heat exhaustion.

Consume Electrolytes 

Another leading cause of heat exhaustion is electrolyte loss. When your body sweats, it removes essential nutrients like salt and potassium from the body. This is why products like Gatorade include plenty of electrolytes to help restore that activity during strenuous exercise.

It’s also a good idea to consume foods that contain salt and potassium before matches, so that when you sweat it won’t be detrimental.

Acclimate to the Heat 

If you haven’t played tennis all summer, and it’s already in the midst of August, you may be in for an unpleasant awakening if you try to match your usual level of play. The body needs to adapt to hot environments, and not over a period of hours, but days.

If you plan on playing tennis during the summer, give yourself a few ways to get prepared. This can mean either taking a brisk walk in the afternoon, or just hitting a few rallies with a partner and wrapping things up quickly. After a few days, you can get back to your typical tennis routine.

Reduce Your Playing Time 

If you’re playing in a tournament or a match through Tennis League or another organization, there are guidelines that must be followed year round. However, if you’re just playing a casual game of tennis you may want to consider reducing the overall amount of time played.

For example, instead of playing 3 sets, play 2. Instead of playing for 2 hours, play for 90 minutes. These reductions are your best bet against heat exhaustion.

There are many ways to stay cool 
Take Breaks

Not only is the heat going to increase your temperature, but playing a tennis match will as well. This is why it is a good idea to take breaks when possible, so that you can reduce your body temperature periodically during the match.

Wear Sunscreen 

Sunscreen won’t prevent dehydration or heat exhaustion, but it’s something that people often forget when spending extended amounts of time out in the sun. If your prone to burning, put plenty on before you head outside.

It’s a good idea to use sunscreen designed for sports, as it is less likely to come off from sweat.

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