When participating in any sport in the summer, it is extremely important to maintain proper fluid levels. It's not the heat of the summer that is the enemy, but rather the inability to acclimate our bodies to the heat and hot sun.

Research indicates that you should drink more than it takes to satisfy your thirst. Since most of our body's weight is water, it's still one of the best fluid replacements. If you don't drink enough, your heart and the rest of your body will not get enough blood and oxygen.

At least one hour prior to your exercise workout, you should drink 8-10 ounces of water and continue to drink the same if you plan to exercise for more than an hour. Then continue to drink every 20 to 30 minutes with ongoing exercise.

In the summer months, acclimate yourself to the heat by gradually increasing your time outdoors from day to day. Wear a hat and light weight, loose-fitting clothing, take frequent cool showers or baths and stay in air conditioning as often as possible to help lower the body temperature.

If you feel uncomfortable, put a wet towel on your body, look for a cooler location and get out of the sun. It is most important to keep in mind that an estimated 1,000 Americans die each year from heat-related illnesses that could be prevented by controlling your body temperature.

Dr. Robert Weiss is a Fairfield native and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.

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