Recently, I’ve seen several teenagers in my office who are heading into their senior year of high school in a couple months with injuries that could jeopardize their readiness for fall sports season. As part of their visit, we discussed their goals, sport, and injury and how to optimally get them ready for safe and fun sports participation this fall. For these teens, their ability to compete as a student athlete during their senior year is an important accomplishment that represents years of hard work, perseverance, and something each senior student athlete should be proud of.
At Sports Health Northwest, we want to help you be as ready as possible for fall sports and summer is an important time to prepare for fall and lay down the foundation for a successful school year and fall sports season. It’s a time to work on fitness by training in heat, address any lingering aches or injuries by seeking expert help from your sports medicine doctor to help with getting you feeling your best for the upcoming fall sports season. Whether that is tackle football, soccer, cheerleading, marching band, or other sports, we are here to help you achieve your goals and enjoy a successful fall season.
Training in the heat has been shown to increase aerobic performance and improve heat acclimation which boosts performance in hot and cool weather. Many studies support that training in the heat helps with increasing blood volume, decreasing heart rate, improving core temperature regulation, and increasing oxygen uptake. All of these help improve performance and endurance in sport.
When training in the heat, it is important to also allow for an acclimation period of at least 10 days. This helps reduce additional risks of dehydration, heat illness, and heat stroke. When this acclimation is done well in advance of the fall sports practices starting, the athlete can reduce their risk of early preseason injury and help prepare them for early success during the preseason practices and training camps. Just like soccer players from all over the world are preparing for the World Cup in Qatar later this year, it is important for athletes in Portland, Oregon to take advantage of the heat in the summer to advance their fitness in preparation for the fall.
Additional benefits to heat acclimation include earlier sweating, more efficient sweating that preserves electrolytes like sodium, lower heart rates, and more comfort exercising in the heat.
Some important considerations for exercising in the summer heat include
- Hydration—It is advisable to drink approximately 32 fluid ounces of water per hour when exercising in the heat. This may need adjusting based on the unique needs of the individual. Many studies have shown the negative effect of dehydration on performance. Also, rarely too much water consumption can have risks, so if you have questions, seek opinion from your sports doctor.
- Extreme heat—Stay away from exercising during the hottest times of the day. You can still achieve the benefits of training in the heat when training in the morning or late day when temperatures are cooler
- Clothing—Wear fabrics and colors designed to help you cool efficiently and reflect heat
- Heart rate—With all the available HR monitors, it’s a good idea to monitor your heart rate during training in the heat. Studies indicate our HR increases about 10 beats per minute for every degree increase in temperature, so this can help with monitoring heat load when training in the summer
- Preparticipation physical evaluation (PPPE)—This is an important screening exam with your sports medicine doctor prior to taking up intense physical activity to assess for heart related exercise risks. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to address joint or muscle pain, concerns about exercise after Covid 19 illness, and an opportunity to discuss unique questions about your health and exercise goals.
If you are planning to exercise more this summer and have questions about your health, at Sports Health Northwest, we are here to help. Connect with us today so we can support your efforts to get healthy and achieve your fitness and exercise goals this summer.