livin’s easy! It is the best time of the year: school is out, and it is time to
go out and have some fun in the sun! It is also time to keep up with your
cheerleading practice, and to stay in shape for those upcoming tryouts and camp!
Summertime may be the best, but it can also be dangerous if you are not used to
being outdoors. With record temperatures around the nation year after year, it
is best to be prepared than to suffer from heatstroke or heat exhaustion.
What is heat
exhaustion? Heat exhaustion is when your body has been exposed to high temperatures
and, in most cases, is also dehydrated. There are two types of heat exhaustion:
water depletion and salt depletion. If you are suffering from water depletion,
you will be excessively thirsty, probably have a headache, and possibly faint,
or feel like you may faint. The warning signs for salt depletion, however, include
nausea and possible vomiting, muscle cramping, and dizziness. Heat exhaustion
is not as severe as heatstroke, but should still be taken seriously.
If you feel you
may have heat exhaustion, the best thing to do is go indoors, preferably in
air-conditioning. You should drink water–do not drink caffeine or alcohol (for
cheerleaders over the age of 21)! Caffeine or alcohol will further dehydrate
you, causing your heat exhaustion to worsen. If possible, take a cold shower
and sit in front of a fan. If after 15 minutes you do not feel better, seek
medical attention because you may have heatstroke.
when your core body temperature reaches above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke,
or sunstroke, is a medical emergency and 911 should be called immediately. Symptoms
of heatstroke have similar signs as heat exhaustion, such as headache, nausea
or vomiting, cramps or muscle weakness, dizziness, and red or hot skin. Heatstroke
also has symptoms such as lack of sweating despite it being hot, rapid
heartbeat, shallow breathing, behavioral changes (i.e. confusion or
disorientation), and possible seizures. Again, heatstroke is a medical
emergency and call 911 if you feel you’re experiencing extreme symptoms because
heatstroke can cause brain damage, damage to internal organs, and can lead to
for outdoor activities is a must to avoiding heatstroke or heat exhaustion, and start by wearing the right kind of airy clothing! Be
sure to always check the weather before going out to do strenuous activities or
exercise; this is especially important if you live in an area with high
humidity. Humidity over 60% or more hinders sweat evaporation, which impedes
your body’s ability to cool itself. It is best to workout indoors on those days,
or do a lighter workout outdoors. You should also dress for the weather: wear
lightweight loose-fitting clothing that allows your body to breath. You should
be wearing sunscreen, and also drink plenty of water; you should be drinking 8
ounces of water every 15 minutes during your workout. You should also be taking
breaks. Taking a moment on those hot days to drink water in the shade allows
your body to cool down.
you know your body best, so listen to it! If you feel like you are getting to
hot, get out of the sun, sit down, and drink some water. Don’t push yourself
too hard during those heat waves, and avoid doing strenuous activity outdoors
on those days. It might be best to visit your local air-conditioned gym if you
have to get a workout in, or go swimming at your local community pool to stay
cool and get in some cardio. You don’t want to let heatstroke stop you from
having a great summer vacation. Be prepared for the hot weather, and be sure to
drink plenty of water!
What else do cheerleaders need to know about avoiding heatstroke? Let us know
your experience cheering outdoors in the comments!