Your body produces heat when exercising, even when it’s cool outside. On those days when it’s not cool outside, which are a lot of days in Hong Kong, it becomes vital to maintain healthy habits.
Our bodies combat the heat generated by physical activity by sweating, but this is not always enough when it’s hot and humid. Adult players can lose up to two and a half litres of water during an hour of competitive play in heat. Typically, women sweat less than men, but during a tennis match in hot weather, this is not always the case.
Our sweat is made up mostly of water, but also contains sodium and chloride, while containing very little potassium. Despite what many tennis players believe, clinical studies have proven that heat related cramps occur due to sodium loss, and not due to lack of potassium.
Because we are sweating so much, it is important to maintain proper hydration before, during and after the match. Though water is the best beverage for sport, a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage can help boost sodium levels in extreme weather. Whatever you do – do not drink caffeinated beverages before or during play!
Another beneficial practice for hot weather tennis is acclimating ourselves to the weather before we play. This can help reduce the impact that the hot weather conditions have on our bodies and, by extension, on our game.
Remember, even when the heat feels unbearable, precautionary steps and proper hydration can make all the difference in ensuring that we stay in peak form on the court.