For many of us, summertime is about relaxation, going to the beach, lounging by the pool, and maybe eating more ice cream than usual. But if you’re a high school or college athlete, summertime is about training for the upcoming season.
For student-athletes, summer is an essential time in your sports career. This is the time of year when you get into better shape and improve your abilities, perhaps correcting some learned mistakes from the previous season. At the same time, a greater risk of injury comes with higher temperatures, particularly for football players or other outdoor athletes. It’s, therefore, essential to ensure your summer training is done safely and in a manner that is helping more than hurting! Literally!
Here are some best practices to help you avoid injuries and ensure your summer training is successful.
Let your body adjust to the Heat
If you’re used to working out indoors, moving to an outdoor training environment needs to be done gradually and cautiously to allow your body to adjust to the higher temperatures. It’s common for gyms to be air-conditioned, and moving from a cool weight room to a hot field may cause a shock to your body. It’s important to give yourself enough time over days, not hours, to let your body adjust to exercising in hotter temperatures. Otherwise, your body may quickly overheat, increasing the chance of injury.
Adjust your Routine
When exercising in warmer temperatures, the body uses more energy, inevitably leading to increased fatigue. To help reduce this, change up your fitness routine to ensure fatigue levels are not too high. Essentially, decreasing workouts’ intensity, i.e, focusing on distance running instead of time.
Watch out for Dehydration
When training in hotter weather, your body will likely sweat more as it works to maintain a consistent internal body temperature. If not managed properly, this can lead to severe dehydration. It’s, therefore, essential to know the symptoms you may experience under this condition, including increased thirst, dry mouth, reduced and discolored urine, headaches and muscle cramps, and fatigue. It’s essential to drink enough water before, during, and after your training routine and take sufficient breaks, preferably in a shaded area.
Don’t overdo it!
This is possibly the most important thing for you to know as a student-athlete! We often are driven by our desire to improve, but it’s straightforward in the summer to over-stress the body. Luckily, our bodies will tell us when something is wrong. Muscle cramping, breathlessness, fatigue, and even dizziness or vomiting can be signs our body has had too much. Ignoring these signs can lead to much more severe and long-lasting injuries. If you are experiencing any symptoms like these, it may be time to take a day or two breaks for optimal recovery.
Remember, no workout is worth risking your entire sports career, whether only in the upcoming season or beyond!
Pain and Spine Specialists treat many conditions and injuries of the spine, neck, and knees by taking a whole-person approach to care. Our focus is getting you back on your feet in good health.