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Preparing for physical exercise in periods of extreme heat

  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Injury and death can occur from dehydration, which can happen quickly and unnoticed. Symptoms of dehydration are often confused with other causes. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; who are on fluid-restrictive diets; or who have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors. Frequent breaks, especially in a cool area or to drink fluids, can help people tolerate heat better.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often. Your body needs water to keep cool. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies.
  • Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly, but make the heat's effects on your body worse.

Heat related Risk Assessment Guidelines

The following guidelines are designed to minimize the health and safety risks associated with outdoor activity during periods of extreme weather conditions. The guidelines are geared toward football practices and other vigorous activities, but contain useful information for all outdoor activities.   FCYFA and the FCPRD will utilize these guidelines during periods of extreme weather conditions for planning and implementing outdoor activities or practices. 

Parents should also use caution. If a parent feels their child is danger, the parent should remove the child from practice.

During periods of extremely hot weather, the FCPRD shall monitor the weather and determine the risk level at the practice site and utilize that information to plan and implement activities involving vigorous exercise.  This will be done using the following process:

1. Determine the wet-bulb temperature (WBT) of the air at the practice or activity site with a digital psychrometer approximately fifteen minutes before start time. If conditions are marginal, additional measurements should be taken at one-hour intervals throughout the practice or activity. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the wet-bulb temperature must be used, not the dry bulb temperature. Wet-bulb temperature measures the combined effects of the dry-bulb temperature, humidity, ground radiated heat and wind speed. They may be quite dissimilar.

2. Use the accompanying Wet Bulb Temperature Chart to determine the level of risk.  Review the recommendations for that level. Keep in mind that the guidelines were developed specifically for football practices and other types of vigorous physical activity. Plan accordingly.

The following guidelines shall apply which are dependent on the risk level

Risk Level:  Very Low Risk / Reasonable practice length / Breaks as needed / Fluids- as desired or needed

Risk Level:  Low Risk / Reasonable practice length / Breaks - 5 minute break every 30 minutes / Fluids - cold water as needed

Risk Level:  Moderate Risk / Practice length - use caution / Breaks  -5 minute break every 20-30 minutes / Fluids - cold water as needed

Risk Level:  High Risk / Practice length - Use Caution / Breaks - remove helmet; 5 minute break every 20 minutes / Fluids - cold water

Risk Level:  Very High Risk / Practice length - practice time should be shortened with low intensity / Breaks - remove helmet - 5 Minute break every 10-15 minutes / Fluids - cold water

Risk Level:  Extremely High Risk / Practice length - NO PRACTICE

Heat Affliction Symptoms And Treatments

Recommendations from the National Athletic Trainers Association - Please consult your family doctor for additional information and treatment plans.

Heat Affliction Symptoms Treatment

Heat Cramps:  Muscle spasms caused by an imbalance of water and electrolytes in muscles

Usually affects the legs and abdominal muscles / Rest in a cool place / Drink plenty of fluids
- Proper stretching and massaging

- Application of ice in some cases

Heat Exhaustion:  Can be precursor to heat stroke

Normal to high temperature / Heavy sweating / Skin is flushed or cool and pale / Headaches, dizziness / Rapid pulse, nausea, weakness / Physical collapse may occur / Can occur without prior symptoms, such as cramps

-Get to a cool place immediately and out of the heat

-Drink plenty of fluids

-Remove excess clothing

-In some cases, immerse body in cool water

Heat Stroke:  Body’s cooling system shuts down

Increased core temperature of 104ºF or greater / If untreated it can cause brain damage, internal organ damage, and even death / Sweating stops / Shallow breathing and rapid pulse / Possible disorientation or lose consciousness / Possible irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest

-Call 911 immediately

-Cool bath with ice packs near large arteries, such as neck, armpits, groin

-Replenish fluids by drinking or intravenously if needed


1. Drink 16-24oz. of fluid 1 or 2 hours before the workout or competition.

2. Drink 4-8oz. of water or sports drink during every 20 minutes of exercise.

3. Drink before thirst develops. Thirst indicates that needed fluids are already lost.


Weight Lost During Workout Fluid Amount Needed to Refuel

2 pounds 32oz. (4 cups or one sports drink bottle)

4 pounds 64oz. (8 cups or two bottles)

6 pounds 96oz. (12 cups or three bottles)

8 pounds 128oz. (16 cups or four bottles)