As the summer season arrives, many people eagerly embrace outdoor activities, relishing swimming, basking in the sunshine, and engaging in sports. While most individuals savor the warmth, athletes face an additional challenge when intense summer heat comes into play: the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Daryl Haan, a Physician Assistant at Rocky Mountain Orthopedics, emphasizes the significance of considering hydration in hot weather. "Exerting oneself in high temperatures can be arduous. Hydration becomes crucial," he asserts, noting that replenishing electrolytes is equally important.
Merely drinking water is not sufficient. Sweating leads to the loss of vital electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, which can have adverse cardiac effects in extreme cases. Even in less severe instances, athletes may experience a decline in performance, muscle fatigue, and cramping due to electrolyte imbalances.
Nutrition: Fueling Athletic Performance
Maintaining proper hydration is essential, but athletes should also prioritize well-balanced meals. Haan underscores the importance of modifying stressors to prevent dehydration from progressing to exhaustion or heatstroke.
Opting for whole foods over synthetic alternatives is advisable for young athletes. While certain proprietary drink supplements and performance boosters can serve as temporary substitutes, they should not replace real food.
Although staying hydrated and nourished significantly reduces the risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, injuries unrelated to heat can still occur. Athletes are prone to various ailments, including swollen joints, broken bones, sprains, and strains.
To address these injuries promptly, Rocky Mountain Orthopedics offers the Rapid Access to Precision Injury Diagnosis (RAPID) program. This unique initiative enables individuals to receive treatment without having to visit the Emergency Room (ER).
However, it's important to note that the RAPID program has limitations based on the nature of the injury. The ER remains the appropriate choice for cases involving open fractures, facial trauma, concussion, head injuries, and heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Regardless of the type of injury sustained, athletes should prioritize two key factors: hydration and nutrition. By staying properly hydrated and consuming wholesome meals, they can minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Should an injury arise, the availability of the RAPID program ensures expedited access to treatment, while the ER remains a crucial resource for severe injuries or heat-related conditions. Taking these precautions empowers athletes to fully enjoy their summer sports endeavors while safeguarding their well-being.