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The keys to playing sports safely in the summer heat

Toronto, August 15, 2018

By Madison Thakore

A biker wearing a helmet stops to drink from a water bottle

Whether you’re dribbling a basketball down the court, kicking a soccer ball up the field, or just cheering along on the sidelines, sports are a great way to spend time outdoors during the summer months. When working up a sweat in the heat, make sure to play it safe by keeping these tips in mind from Dr. Lee Schofield, a sport and exercise medicine physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.

1. Get outside but play it smart.

Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion, such as nausea, fatigue or cool skin, and immediately seek out shade and water if you suspect someone has had too much sun. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to help stay safe while playing sports on a summer day.

But don’t let the sun scare you away from getting your recommended dose of exercise outdoors. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend kids over the age of five get at least one hour of exercise a day. It’s recommended that adults get at least two and a half hours of weekly exercise.

2. Hydrate.

If children are playing sports for under an hour, Dr. Schofield recommends keeping them hydrated with water. Halftime snacks, especially fruit such as orange slices, are also a great way to keep kids hydrated and energized.

When it comes to organized sports and activities with longer game times and higher endurance levels, sport drinks are another option. Sport drinks help restore electrolytes and maintain energy levels, but Dr. Schofield suggests limiting them for more vigorous physical activities as they can be high in sugar content.

3. Safety equipment is no joke.

Organized sports are not the only way to be active in the summer. When it comes to participating in bike rides, cycling events, rollerblading and similar activities, Dr. Schofield urges the use of safety equipment no matter your age. The use of helmets is proven to reduce the occurrence of traumatic brain injuries and skull fractures, making it a no-brainer to protect your head.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital with Providence Healthcare and St. Joseph’s Health Centre now operate under one corporate entity as of August 1, 2017. United, the three organizations serve patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education.

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