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Be Wary of Warm Weather Sports

Have fun, but stay cool and hydrated, experts advise

SATURDAY, April 29, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Summer and sports go hand-in-hand, but too much fun in the sun can lead to dangerous overheating or dehydration, experts warn.

A little caution and common sense can help prevent heat-related harm, however.

For example, evaporation of sweat is essential for the regulation of body temperature, say experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

"Exercising in high humidity particularly on hot overcast days can be more dangerous because the sweat doesn't evaporate as quickly and doesn't do as good a job of cooling you," Dr. Peter Snell, associate professor of internal medicine, said in a prepared statement.

When it's hot, exercise such as cycling and roller blading that produces high airflow and therefore increases sweat evaporation are good alternatives to walking or running, he said.

"One of the key dangers of exercising in the heat is becoming dehydrated. Always carry a water bottle and because the sensation of thirst lags behind dehydration, drink before you become thirsty," Snell said. "It's best to wear sunscreen and a fabric that can breathe, so you can protect yourself fro the sun and still be able to cool off."

On particularly hot days, it's best to do you exercise in the early morning in order to avoid dehydration and heat injury.

More information

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about heat injury.

SOURCE: UT Southwestern Medical Center news release, April 2006
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