Athletes perform indoors and outdoors at games, competitions, and tournaments, and in a variety of weather conditions. It’s important for team members and staff to consider the weather conditions when planning and choosing uniforms, warm-ups, and accessories.
Outdoors and in the fall and winter, athletes are exposed to rain, snow and cold winds. While athletes playing indoors are not exposed to harsh seasonal temperatures, it does mean that they will be performing in a crowded, sometimes stuffy gym that can get very warm. During the spring and summer, athletes playing outdoors are at risk of heat stroke and more.
If body temperature is not monitored, athletes may become weak and exhausted. An athlete that is not at 100% for his/her performance puts everyone on the team at risk, especially if the team performs in groups, like a cheerleading squad.
Here are some tips for regulating body temperature during games in the heat and the cold:
Clothing. Accessorize your uniform with long sleeve bodysuits, warm-up pants and jackets or other cold weather gear for the winter season. The clothing will insulate your body and keep heat from escaping. Logically, that means that for indoors or during spring and summer, uniforms and practicewearshould be lightweight and short-sleeved to allow sweat to escape the body and cool the skin.
Hydrate! During physical activity, the body loses hydration through sweating. Be sure to have water and sports drinks on hand during performances and drink plenty of fluids. If you start feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink!
Educate. Find out what heat stroke and heat stress are and how to prevent it. Make sure that team members and parents know the signs of heat stroke. It’s also good to look into the effects of frostbite or extreme cold exposure. Know the signs and know when it is time to bundle up or head indoors.
Nutrition. Research what to eat and drink before a performance, how long before a performance you should eat and how much you should eat. Don’t forget about after games and performances too! Just because the game is over, doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Your body could suffer effects if you don’t replenish after a game. It’s a good idea to know what not to eat also. Consider the weather when choosing your meals; to stay warm you may need a heavier, heartier meal, but if you will be in the heat you may want to eat something lighter.
Treatment. If someone shows signs of fatigue, weakness, discoloration or any other signs of stress during a performance, make sure they stop all physical activity immediately and get checked out by the onsite paramedic.
Omni Cheer is a leading cheerleading apparel company.