In the high heat of summer, the number one concern on most people’s minds is staying cool. When you’re an athlete, especially one whose sports relies on heading outdoors, it requires a bit more preparation to ensure that you stay safe. Let’s take a look at how to stay safe in the heat and how a mask can help. But first, what can happen if you unsafely exercise in the heat?
There are a number of different heat-caused illnesses that can strike if you’re not prepared. When you are under hydrated, exposed to too many UV rays, stress your body by working in the heat, and constantly out in the sun, you may be vulnerable to a heat sickness such as “heat illness.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these symptoms can be heavy sweating, cold pale clammy skin, fast weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness weakness, dizziness, and/or headache.
Doesn’t sound fun, right? Definitely not. So how can we prevent these symptoms?
Preventing Heat Illness During Sports
There are several key points in preventing a heat illness while practicing sports.
- Hydration: This is key during any time of year and in any weather conditions. But during the summer when your body sweats more to cool itself, your water intake should increase to help your body’s natural cooling system. Stop frequently for water. Dehydration can increase the strain on your heart and temperature regulating systems, which in turn decrease your ability to perform at your best. Add a pinch of sea salt into your water bottle to regain lost electrolytes as well.
- Shade: As much as we want to power our way through the sun and the heat, a key to exercising in summer is to be sure that we rest and get enough shade. Our bodies need the chance to cool and acclimate to the heat. Do shorter bursts of aerobic activity and take frequent shady, water breaks. Exercising in the morning or evening, when the sun isn’t as high and the UV rays aren’t as powerful can also help you stay safe and perform at the top of your game. Also, UV rays can cause skin damage. Avoiding the strongest rays will keep your skin safer.
- Acclimatize: This is just a fancy word for letting your body get used to working out in the heat. Start with shorter training sessions and work your way up to longer ones as your body gets used to the heat, the sun’s rays, and often, the humidity. Humidity can stifle your body’s ability to self-cool because of a decrease in the evaporation of sweat.
- Awareness: Know your body and its signs. Keep track of how you’re feeling, how your body is responding, and don’t push it beyond its limits. To perform at your best, you need to give your body what it needs, including rest, shade, and hydration.
How to Wear Masks in the Heat
Wearing a mask in the heat is possible and can be safe. In order to be so, the mask has to have several key points to make sure you are comfortable and can perform at your best.
- Breathable fabric: A mask worn in the summer needs to have breathable fabric that allows the most intake of oxygen possible so you can power your body with the fuel it needs. NAROO’s F1S is made of MICRONET™, a nylon blend with an exclusive knit that is breathable and comfortable against the skin. The reverse side of the F1S has a SPAN MESH fabric that allows for clear, unrestricted and unfiltered airflow.
- Washable: Unwashed masks can retain sweat, salt, and other particles that can make a second, unwashed use of the mask less effective. Washing masks between every use is paramount. The F1S can be washed over 100 times without losing its effectiveness.
- Cooling: Moisture-wicking water-repellent fabric will help the mask disperse sweat and condensation from the nose and mouth and keep you dry (soggy masks are no fun!) and cool. It will help sweat evaporate in humidity.
- UV Protection: A face full of sun lotion can be sticky and drippy, so a mask can be an alternative to UV protection without the creams. The F1S’s SPAN MESH will keep your skin safe from the sun, and as an added bonus, also from wayward insects.
- F1S Bonus: MICRONET™ fabric technology also filters harmful particles as small as 1.7 microns in size, protecting you from pollen, pollution, and other harmful particles.
A few extra tips are to choose a lighter color mask (the F1S in white) to reflect the sun’s rays and keep you cooler, and to follow local heat safety guidelines.
Shop our mask selection to choose the best summer time mask for you.