Is It Hot Outside?


It’s almost summertime!  That means being outside.  While we all think getting a tan is so socially important and aesthetically appealing, we must understand the negative effect it has on our bodies.  Getting a good sunburn is NOT a head start on a tan, getting a good sunburn in just stupid.  So, as an athlete, a young person, and adult, a coach, a lifeguard, or just the weekend gardener, please be responsible and take care of yourself.  There will be little sympathy given to those who show up to practice sunburned, dizzy, irritable, dehydrated, with headaches, tired, and unable to train.  Most likely you will be sent home after a stern reprimand wearing a badge of shame and covered in disappointment.  Heavy stuff.

Sunburn is a burn to living tissue, such as skin, which is produced by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, commonly from the sun's rays. Usual mild symptoms in humans include red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch, general fatigue, and mild dizziness. An excess of UV radiation can be life-threatening in extreme cases. Exposure of the skin to lesser amounts of UV radiation will often produce a suntan.

Take your time to acclimate. I know we have great weather right now and you want to be out in the sun as soon and for as long as you can… but if you burn you will then lose more time than you have gained. A little bit of sun, a little bit of shade and a lot of sun screen will slowly build up a good base for a tan while also, and more importantly, get you used to training and surviving in the heat. Rushing things and getting all red will not give you a good tan in the end and will certainly negatively affect your workouts. Use the correct SPF cream.

What does SPF mean?  The SPF is a comparison of the time it takes before the skin will start to redden with and without sun protection. In addition, SPF pertains only to UVB rays, the ones that cause tanning but also sunburns.  For example, if it would take 20 minutes for an individual's skin to burn without sun protection, then a SPF of 15 means that when applied, that person can remain in the sun 15 times longer, or up to 5 hours, without worrying about burning. That doesn’t mean being in the sun for 5 hours is ok, that was just an example.  The greater the SPF, the longer the protection it offers, but only up to a certain point. SPFs greater than 15 offer only small increments of additional protection. And that's the theory behind the SPF.

In reality though, sun protection regardless of SPF becomes less effective when it's not evenly applied, a person goes into the water and a person sweats. Both water and sweat diminish the product's effectiveness that's why it's extremely important to reapply sun protection frequently. This happens even to the so called “waterproof” lotions!

Besides reapplying, for maximum effectiveness the first application should happen approximately 20 minutes prior to going out into the sun. Doing so allows sufficient time for the product to fully absorb into the skin. It also ensures that you'll be protected the moment you step outside.

DEHYDRATION: Drink plenty of water! It is very easy to dehydrate while outside. Apart from the drying out caused by the sun, heat and wind, alcohol (which is obviously illegal for minors to consume) will also contribute to water loss from your body. The effects of dehydration can be very unpleasant and in chronic cases, deadly!

CHILDREN: This counts 100 fold for children. Because of their small body mass, children will dehydrate far faster than an adult. Their tender skin will also burn far more easily.  Yes, most of you are still children, especially the boys.

Symptoms may include headaches similar to what is experienced during a hangover, a sudden episode of visual snow, decreased blood pressure (hypotension), and dizziness or fainting when standing up due to orthostatic hypotension. Untreated dehydration generally results in delirium, unconsciousness, swelling of the tongue and, in extreme cases, death.  None of these will help you in your training!!

Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after as little as 2% of one's normal water volume has been lost. Initially, one experiences thirst and discomfort, possibly along with loss of appetite and dry skin. This can be followed by constipation.  Symptoms of mild dehydration include thirst, decreased urine volume, abnormally dark urine, unexplained tiredness, irritability, lack of tears when crying, headache, dry mouth, dizziness when standing due to orthostatic hypotension, and in some cases insomnia.

So, drink lots of water.  No energy drinks, caffeine drinks, or alcohol.

Take care and have a great, pain free summer.