Tennis is an excellent way to take advantage of the summer weather, but what happens when the heat affects your game? In the blazing sun, playing conditions on the tennis court can be 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the air temperature! So how do you stay cool during an outdoor tennis match and still have fun and perform at your best?
1. Wear Lightweight and Comfortable Clothing
When you're playing outdoors especially, the quality of your clothing is at least as important as that of your tennis balls and racket. Make sure everything is lightweight and breathable, and consider wearing moisture-wicking materials that pull sweat away from your skin. Choose clothing that's comfortable and will keep your body cool throughout the entire day.
2. Protect Your Eyes and Face
Chose a hat or visor with a wide rim made from breathable fabric - keeping the sun off your face and neck will help you feel cooler even with the sun beating down. You can also consider wearing sunglasses - just be sure they're allowed during game play, and if so, it might be a good idea to fasten them with a strap that keeps them from slipping down your nose or falling off. Along with hats and sunglasses, make sure you regularly apply sunscreen to keep yourself from burning. Many sunscreens will say they're water- or sweat-proof, but even so it's a good idea to periodically re-apply, especially if you're outside all day.
3. Wrap a Wet Towel Around Your Neck
If the heat simply becomes unbearable and you need to bring your body temperature down in order to keep playing, then one of the tricks that has been widely used in tennis is wrapping a wet and cold towel around your neck. You can also try ice on your wrists. The trick is to cool the areas of your body where the largest blood vessels are located.
4. Stay Hydrated
It is extremely important to constantly hydrate and re-hydrate yourself throughout the game, given the fact that along with sweat, your body eliminates sodium and many other essential minerals that must be replenished. Whether you opt for sports drinks that have all the necessary minerals and vitamins in them, or a bottle of cool water, stay hydrated throughout the entire day.
We recommend drinking electrolyte-enhanced water, and to avoid drinking beverages that are known to cause dehydration, such as soda, alcohol and caffeine. One of the most common (and dangerous) misconceptions out there is the fact that drinking water alone is enough to keep you hydrated, when the lack of electrolytes can actually lead to hyponatremia (medical term for low sodium levels in the body) which is a dangerous metabolic state that can be easily prevented by simply switching to an electrolyte-rich drink.
If at any time during a game you feel faint and dizzy, stop playing. Go inside, drink water and do what you need to to cool down and feel better. But taking the above precautions during matches on hot days can help you play better and longer and make the most of the season!