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If you plan to participate in any sports this summer, it’s a great way to keep active and make the most of the warm weather. However, summer is also a time when, due to being more active and extreme heat, sports players are more prone to injury. Don’t let hot temperatures and the risk of injury keep you from enjoying what you love; instead, follow these safety tips for a fun and healthy summer.


Stay hydrated

There are many differing opinions on the right amount of water to consume each day, but most health professionals will agree that the average adult should drink 2 liters of water a day, which comes out to eight 8-ounce glasses. It is even more important to stay hydrated in times of extreme heat. If a heat warning or advisory is announced for your area, the best thing you can do is heed the newscasters’ advice and stay indoors. However, if you must be outdoors, be sure to take frequent water breaks. Someone weighing 130 pounds or more should be drinking 9 ounces of water every 20 minutes. Wearing lightweight clothing will also help protect against heat-related illness.


Always wear sunscreen

UV rays are stronger in the summer, even on cooler, overcast days, so be sure to wear sunscreen whenever you plan to spend any time outdoors. Aim for an SPF of at least 15 (higher if you know that you burn easily) and cover up wherever you can with hat and sunglasses to protect your skin. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours and after any exposure to water, and keep in mind that the sun is most intense between the hours of 10am and 4pm, so you should limit your exposure to direct sunlight during those hours. If you’re planning a time to meet up with your friends to play sports, aim for early morning or evening, if possible.


Wear protective gear

Whatever sport you play, be sure to wear all of the protective gear available to safeguard against injury. Whenever you’re on any form of wheels (bike, skateboard, rollerblades, etc.), you should be wearing a helmet. Your safety is more important than how you look, and the good news is, there are a lot of sleek, stylish options on the market today. Make sure the helmet is comfortable and fits properly. Depending on the sport, additional gear like a mouthguard, elbow and knee pads, shin guards, and gloves may be necessary.


Avoid head injury

This goes along with wearing the proper gear, but I just want to reiterate how important it is to protect your head. Your brain is your most valuable and vulnerable organ. A bump to the head could cause irreparable brain damage that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Be on the lookout for signs of a concussion, which include dizziness, nausea or vomiting, confusion, trouble remembering, drowsiness, and sleep disturbances.