Summer officially began Wednesday, and the forecast already looks like a typical Augusta summer. Highs will climb into the mid- to upper 90s later this week. That means paying more attention to outdoor exercise, said Tim McLane, the senior athletic trainer for the sports medicine program at Georgia Health Sciences University.
“If (the temperature) has jumped up like it has this past week, don’t go out and run the same amount,” he said. “Be a little smarter.”
Even seasoned runners can be fooled by the impact of the high heat and humidity, McLane said.
“Just because you have already been running doesn’t mean you’re acclimatized to this much more stifling heat,” he said.
The key is to get used to it first, watch the conditions, and be prepared for them. A big part of that preparation is hydration, he said.
“The key is prehydrating and making sure you have enough fluids,” he said. “And like everything else, making sure you’ve eaten properly, too.”
Those doing a lot of exercise outside might want to consider cutting out the caffeine, which can interfere with hydration, McLane said.
“That’s hard to be doing that because we’re all from the good old South and we love our sweet tea and our coffee in the morning,” he said. “You just have to be a little more sensible about how much you’re taking in on that. You still want to avoid it, pretty much.”
McLane tells his high school athletes during training and the season to drink no more than one or two caffeinated drinks a week. A sports drink a couple of hours before can help with hydration, but water is fine, he said. Water might be all they need afterward, but those really depleted might try a sports drink again. They should avoid really cold liquids, McLane said.
“When it is super-cold, it’s not going to pass across the stomach lining really well” and hinder absorption, he said.
People react differently, so they should gauge what works for them, McLane said.
“If you’ve done a decent job, it’s easier to take care of things after,” he said.