Hydration and sun protection advice
Don't forget sunscreen (and water)
Summer has finally returned and with the sunnier weather and warmer conditions it’s important to stay hydrated and make sure you are properly protected from the sun while playing Rugby League.
• Don't rely on thirst. Drink before, during and after any physical activity. Get into the habit of taking on fluids during training as well as competition.
• If the exercise lasts for less than an hour the body should have sufficient electrolyte and carbohydrate supplies to maintain optimal performance. Therefore, for short periods of exercise water is just as good as sports drinks.
• If exercise lasts for over an hour a drink with electrolytes and carbohydrates will aid performance by supplying additional energy.
• Contrary to popular opinion a relatively small amount of sweat is salt (0.2 to 0.4%) therefore unless the climate is extremely hot or the activity is over an hour in duration additional salt should not be needed.
• Always try to drink more fluids than you need. Small quantities at frequent intervals help to optimize hydration.
• The World Health Organization recommends drinking 6 to 8 large glasses a water a day. But it must be remembered that this is only to maintain normal fluid balance and does not take into account the extra fluid demands of exercise.
• Drink at least half a litre of water before exercise to ensure your fluid levels are up to start and then continue taking in as much as you can during exercise.
Stay safe in the sun:
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause skin damage including sunburn, blistering, skin ageing and in the long term can lead to skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United Kingdom, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Ultraviolet radiation is considered to be an occupational
hazard for people who work outdoors.
You may train or play outside for substantial periods of time during the summer months (May – September), especially between the hours of 11am to 3pm when the sun is at is strongest.
Players with pale skin are most at risk of skin damage, especially those with fair or red hair, with lots of freckles or with a family history of skin cancer. Players with darker skin are at low risk but people of all skin colours can suffer from overheating and dehydration.
It makes sense for everyone involved in Rugby League including players, coaches, volunteers and spectators to take sensible precautions such as:
• Wearing long sleeves, keeping shirts on, wearing baseball caps and using sun block.
• Reapplying sunscreen regularly and choosing a long-lasting sunscreen.
• Applying sunscreen liberally and evenly every four hours. It’s a common mistake not to use enough sunscreen. Apply at least two tablespoons of sunscreen to each part of your body (if you’re thinning on top don’t forget your head!)
• Reducing exposure to the sun during breaks by seeking shade if possible within the time allocated
• Checking skin regularly for unusual moles or spots and seeing the Doctor if you find anything that is changing the shape, size or colour, itching and bleeding.