Painful lessons in the heat

Posted on 20. Jul, 2012 by

Thursday I tried to be a kid again and play outside all day.
I started with 18 holes of golf. Then there was an early evening softball game that was followed by a six-mile run.
While it was all fun, I paid the price for a day out in the triple-digit heat around 11 p.m. when I tried to go to bed. As I began to doze, the toes on my right foot began to cramp. That was followed quickly by painful spasms in the my calves, hamstrings and quads.
A bottle of Gatorade and some coconut water later, I finally quit cramping and was able to get some sleep. But even as I type this post, I’m still a bit sore from last night’s painful cramps.
Even after a heatstroke as a teenager and more than 10 years of distance running in the brutal Texas summer, I still fail at times to realize the draining power of the heat. A few sports drinks and a couple bottles of water were not enough on days like Thursday.
This weekend is not expected to be any better with triple-digit heat and high humidity creating a dangerous situation for people exerting themselves outside.
While us native Texans believe we are acclimated to the heat, it’s nothing to play with. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 8,000 people in the United States died from heat-related illnesses between 1979-2003. The yearly average has increased in recent years with 206 perishing last year according to National Weather Service. Texas had the most last year with 46.
Be safe out there this weekend, stay hydrated and take care of others, especially the elderly and children who are more susceptible to the heat.
Below is a link to some helpful tips to keep you safe out in the heat. But a little common sense will help you avoid painful reminders from your body like I experienced Thursday.

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.asp

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