Heat Index Effects on People During Outdoor Sports
Studies done by the National Weather Service on heat index effects explores the comparison of relative humidity with air temperature. On the East Coast and Southern States where hot, humid summers are common, if the air temperature is 88°F and there is 75% relative humidity, chances are, it will feel like 105°F degrees. The more moisture in the air, the more discomfort one will have breathing and participating in outdoor sports and recreation.
Humidity with higher moisture in the air, causes less efficient cooling of the human body. During exercise, the body heats up and perspires to release heat. The body can only get cooler if the perspiration evaporates. When the humidity is high, sweat cannot evaporate and the body can’t cool itself down.
The NWS heat index categories are based on how the heat and humidity will affect a healthy individual:
- Heat index of 80°F-90°F: Prolonged exposure or physical activity could lead to fatigue.
- Heat index of 90°F-103°F: A person can experience heat stroke, or heat exhaustion.
- Heat index of 103°F/105°F-124°F: A person may experience heat exhaustion, and heat stroke becomes possible.
- Heat index of 125°F: Heat stroke is highly likely.
At Paintball USA, you are welcomed to bring in food and ice chests with waters to enjoy in our outdoor, shaded picnic facilities with water misters to keep you cooled off in the summer heat while you enjoy playing paintball or having paintball birthday parties. https://www.paintballusa.org/
Check out our Helpful Hints on How to Dress for tips on staying cool in the summer months while playing paintball. https://www.paintballusa.org/about
Review the weather report before planning your day of paintball. We are located just past Santa Clarita before you get to the Antelope Valley. Our summers experience some heat waves, but generally, July through August are dry heat. https://www.paintballusa.org/location
There are variables to the chart of heat index temperatures. If a person can retreat to some shade, hydrate and there is a breeze on a humid, hot day, that will give some relief to total exposure in the sun.
An individual that is not acclimated to a state with high humidity may not be able to withstand prolonged outdoor physical activity with the same endurance of a person that has lived in that state for a period.
A person’s general state of health makes a difference in how long they will be able to participate in an outdoor physical sport or activity when the weather is humid. If a person has good general overall health, naturally, they will be able to stand the heat and humidity longer than a person with underlying health issues.
If you are planning a sports practice or outdoor activity that will require physical stamina on a hot, humid day, here is what you can do to prepare for it.
- Hydrate days before your sport.
- Bring plenty of water with you.
- Educate all coaches and athletes on recognizing exertional heat illness and stroke.
- Wet down a neck protector with cool water in between each game of paintball.
- Wear a hat or head covering and wet down with cool water between games.
- Schedule your activity mornings or late afternoons.
- Take breaks between your games.