Kids Exercising In Heat

In Australia, many of our most vigorous outdoor sports are played during the winter time, and this is mainly due to how dangerous physical activity in the heat (for anyone, not just kids) can be.

Exercising in temperatures above 27 degrees, high humidity or excessive radiation from the sun can be dangerous, and we’ve put together everything you need to know about how to keep your kids safe this summer when enjoying some physical activity.

Why do we need to be more cautious with kids?
When enjoying some physical activity, the average human body can produce 15 to 20 times more heat than resting! Humans have several fantastic mechanisms that our bodies will put into action to help manage our body temperature. Unfortunately, kid’s mechanisms like sweating, radiating and generally managing harsh changes in temperature have not fully developed. This means that their bodies have trouble keeping them cool as the heat begins to rise inside and outside their body.

How would I know if my kid isn’t handling the heat?
There are several key indicators to look out for, and not all may be present at the one time:

  • Appearing confused, dizzy or having difficulty concentrating
  • Skill levels decrease
  • Skin appears flushed OR unusually pale, sometimes feeling cold
  • Nausea, vomiting or cramps
  • High heart rate
  • Headache

All of these can also be an indication of dehydration, heat sickness or sun stroke.

I’m noticing these symptoms, what should I do?
If this occurs, it is important to begin gently cooling them down. Have them in the shade, topping up on fluids, in a comfortable position. A cool shower can also be used, but not a cold shower or ice bath. A sudden drop in temperature can be just as harmful to a child. Opting for room temperature water is also better, as the body can absorb it quickly. “Electrolyte drinks” can also be somewhat helpful, but are not recommended in large quantities due to the excessive sugar and artificial colours they are often filled with. If symptoms are persisting or worsening, seek support and advice from a health professional.

How can I prevent this from happening?
There several ways to minimise the impact of the heat on kids, and ensure they enjoy their participation safely:

  • Shorten playing times, and have multiple subs to reduce active time
  • Have a cool shaded area for kids to sit in, keep them out the sun where possible
  • Minimise the chance of dehydration by ensuring water is readily available
  • Taking off shoes, socks and hats after activity in the shade can help them cool down
  • Get active in the morning or evening, to avoid the hottest parts of the day

If you’d like more information about physical activity options in summer, or how to minimise the chances of sickness or injury then contact the practice today on (02) 4721 7798, or email info@progressiverehab.com.au. Our highly experienced physiotherapists are always happy to assist. However, speak to your local doctor if you have any major concerns of this nature.

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.