Summer is the time when people discover new and different sports or outdoor activities. However, if people are not informed or used to summer conditions or outdoor activities then they are more likely to develop heat and/or sports-related injuries. The human body survives and functions optimally when it regulates core body temperature between 35 and 41°C, it acts like a furnace as it burns more fiercely during exercise (1).
Chemical energy stored in the muscles as Adenosine triphosphate or ATP is used during exercise and converted into mechanical energy (movement/running). However, only 25 % of ATP is used for this purpose while the other 75 % is lost as heat. Heat production in the body usually follows a linear fashion with increases in the speed of running, walking or other exercises (1). The human brain regulates the exercise intensity “in anticipation”, specifically to ensure that the body temperature does not rise excessively (2). Thus, the real challenge for the body, especially during competitive exercise in the heat, is to lose heat fast enough to allow the highest possible exercise intensity at which thermal homeostasis can still be achieved, without progressive heat accumulation leading to heatstroke (1). The body loses heat by increasing the heated blood flow through muscles which are transferred to the skin surface in the form of sweat production. More heat is lost through evaporation of sweat than the falling of sweat (1).
The following tips help in body conditioning for harsh summer weather and in preventing heat and/or sports-related injuries.
- ✓ Avoid direct sunlight exposure for more than 15- 20 minutes at a time and regularly apply sunscreen.
- ✓ Take as much as fluid as tolerable to replace all the sweat loss during exercise and optimize performance.
- ✓ The usual range of fluid intake varies from 400 – 800 ml/hr in most recreational and competitive sports activities. Fluid may be taken at every 2-3km during running based on thirst dictate and tolerable limit (3).
- ✓ Dehydration causes early fatigue, mild dizziness, and confusion; but don’t wait for these symptoms; stay well hydrated.
- ✓ Drink plenty of water/fluid/juice; hydration increases muscle flexibility, bone density, and skin elasticity.
- ✓ Eat water-rich foods, vegetables & fruits (watermelon/melon/orange/cucumber).
- ✓ Don’t consume very cold fluids/water immediately after exercise as it may cause a nauseating sensation.
Outdoor work out/activities:
- ✓ Even in the heat, use protective gear: Don’t forget to protect your head with a helmet as well as elbow and knee support for contact sports.
- ✓ Don’t wear flip-flops for long periods of time; Wear comfortable and/or sports specific shoes (Tennis/soccer/running shoes).
- ✓ Avoid gardening for long hours, maintain proper posture, try to bend your knees while lifting heavy objects.
- ✓ Avoid running when humidity is more than 70-80% and the wind is still because heat loss from the body by evaporation of sweat will be less effective and there will higher risk of developing heat stroke (1).
- ✓ More physical activity is encouraged in less sunny conditions or to engage in indoor activities, healthy food and avoid too much sugar-rich energy fluids.
- ✓ Maintain an adequately nutritious diet.
Summer in Finland is full of fresh, locally grown produce and unforgettably fun activities, so you can trust in Finland as an excellent medical tourism destination. We provide a stress-free medical travel experience, to learn more about how we can help you on your patient path, please click here.
The writer of the article:
- 1. Waclawski ER, Beach J, Milne A, Yacyshyn E, Dryden DM. Systematic review: plantar fasciitis and prolonged weight bearing. Occup Med (Lond). 2015;65(2):97-106.
- 2. Lemont H, Ammirati KM, Usen N. Plantar fasciitis: a degenerative process (fasciosis) without inflammation. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2003;93(3):234-7.
- 3. Brinks A, Koes BW, Volkers AC, Verhaar JA, Bierma-Zeinstra SM. Adverse effects of extra-articular corticosteroid injections: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010;11:206.