Pakistan has a rich and successful history in sports. Although many different types of sports are practiced here, the most popular ones are not Cricket, Field Hockey and Squash with the likes of football and volleyball also played widely. Some traditional sports are still quite alive, as is the case of Kabaddi, a contact sport with some similarities to rugby that remains very popular. Pakistan has won 10 Olympic medals (3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze), most from field hockey and a few from wrestling.
Although Pakistani citizens are no strangers to athletics, summer is still a challenge. Temperatures can reach over 50oC and there’s a limit to how much heat a normal person can endure without proper techniques.
How Heat Affects Athletes?
When temperature is high, athletes are especially vulnerable to a wide range of heat-related illnesses. Although these can manifest in many different ways, the conditions known like Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke are the most severe. Heat Stroke is particularly dangerous, as it is potentially deadly. Lastly, high temperatures affect performance negatively, the best way to sustain your activity is to warm up carefully, increase the intensity of your training gradually.
Other less severe/dangerous conditions are: Heat Rash, Sunburns and Heat Cramps.
The main cause for heat-related illnesses tends to be an excessive amount of heat production from the athlete combined with poor heat dissipation. Next, we’ll provide a list of tips for these situations.
What To Do
Changes To Diet and Training
An athlete should be mindful of the temperature, and during very hot days they should try to train early in the morning or in the evening to avoid peak temperatures. Water intake should be increased due to extra loss of fluids from the body in form of the sweating. Intake of fresh juices, fruits and vegetables rich in calcium, iron, vitamins and should be increased. These include, banana, citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, spinach, beetroot to name a few.
In case of Heat Exhaustion, the main symptoms are: Heavy sweating, cold and pale skin, fast and weak pulse, nausea, vomit, cramps, weakness, headache, fainting.
The best to do in these cases is to:
Move to some place colder
Apply cool water/wet clothes on your body
If symptoms don’t stop after 1 hour or you start vomiting, seek immediate medical aid
In case of Heat Stroke, the main symptoms are: High temperature (102 oF or higher), hot, red, dry or damp skin, fast and strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, passing out.
Look for immediate medical help. This is a serious medical emergency
Move the person to a cooler place
Look for ways to lower the person’s temperature with cold baths or cold wet clothes