It’s summertime, which, for many, means plenty of fun in the sun playing basketball, tennis, volleyball and other summer sports and activities. But with the higher temps comes a higher risk of injury when playing outdoor sports. To make sure your summer stays enjoyable, be sure to follow these summer sports safety tips:
- Always warm up and cool down – Before you head out onto the court, make sure that your muscles are primed for play by doing a few minutes of stretches. Proper conditioning will not help limber you up for game time, but help prevent injuries. Also, a few minutes of cool down activities post-game will help combat pain and stiffness. The Mayo Clinic has excellent examples of how to warm up and cool down before and after activities.
- Use appropriate safety equipment – Keep serious injuries at bay by wearing helmets, goggles, knee pads, mouth guards and other protective gear necessary for your sport. Also, make sure your clothing is appropriate for your sport or activities.
- Keep hydrated – Playing outside in summer temps means more sweating, which means you have to work harder to keep properly hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water as well as sports drinks packed with electrolytes to prevent dehydration.
- Don’t play in dangerous weather conditions – Avoid playing in thunder and lightning or other forms of severe weather. Strong winds, rain torrents and lightning strikes can make for hazardous conditions, which can lead to serious injury or death.
- Don’t ignore signs of physical distress – Headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps and nausea are all signs of heat exhaustion, a condition caused by not cooling the body enough in hot conditions. If you feel these symptoms coming on, be sure to take a break, move to a cooler location and drink some water. Ignoring signs of heat exhaustion can cause heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition.