Playing in Heat and Humidity: A Double Whammy

For those who are getting ready to migrate from the cooler north to the sunny south, or going to Newk’s Camp in Texas, or will be coming south over the winter … you should be ready for the challenges of playing in the heat and humidity the body is not used to.

According to CBS online article resource, “Researchers know why hot, humid days can cause fatigue. Normally, your body perspires to cool you down when temperatures are high. But if the humidity is also high, you’re trapped in a moist environment where your sweat can’t evaporate and escape from your skin. This causes you to expend extra energy, which can leave you feeling sluggish or fatigued.”

Here are some tips to consider:

Hydration – Not only drinking DURING a tennis match, but being sure to stay fully hydrated BEFORE you walk onto the court.
Electrolytes – I am not a big fan of sports drinks; but use them if that is what you like. And also consider high-potassium orange juice and bananas as daily supplements.
Sun Block – Don’t forget to lather up before playing out in the stronger sunlight closer to the equator.
Hat – I know just too many guys who have lost pieces of their ears to melanoma; so for that reason and coolness, where at least a baseball cap, if not a wide-brimmed hat.
Shirts – You will need to have some ‘wick-away’ shirts, otherwise you will be weighted down with sweat-soaked cotton. And keep a spare in your tennis bag to change during a longer match.
Ego Aside – Don’t be ashamed to take more time than normal in between points and on changeovers. It is not macho to collapse from heat stroke.
Listen to Your Body – If you are feeling light headed, sit down and don’t push it.

My experience is that it takes about a week for the blood to thin out and your body to get used to playing in the heat and humidity; so don’t rush it (or they be rushing you to the hospital).

5 thoughts on “Playing in Heat and Humidity: A Double Whammy

  1. Great stuff, George. One year at Newk’s I nearly passed out after four rough matches the first two days. Subsequently I always made sure to drink plenty of pedialyte and have since been fine. But everything you say is spot on.

  2. Ditto, George. As an ER doc, I see heat illness a lot here in SC. Would also add that alcohol is a diuretic i.e. it makes you lose water in your urine. I know none of us will drink excessively . . . but you can mitigate the effect by drinking a glass of water in between each beer or glass of wine or mixed drink during the evening. Starting out the day hydrated is key. Looking forward to seeing everyone!

  3. George – Thanks for remnding everyone the importance of hydration. Great tips!
    I seem to remember a match this past March in Naples where I felt “out of sorts” because I had just arrived from the north, was playing a doubles match on clay on a very hot and humid day, and one guy in glasses on the otherside of the net kept hitting drop shots and lobs just see if Willy Hoffman would really give me mouth to mouth resuscitation. 🙂 See you soon!

  4. George, Very good advice – Jason and I will be very pleased if everyone takes this advice to heart. As always will be have Gatorade and potassium supplements available for all the campers. In the 23 years, we have only had two times (same person) that someone was transported to ER for heat exhaustion. However, prevention is the key. Thanks for posting this information. The naked thing may work but not advisable because of possible sunburn!

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