21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Sports Day is an annual Peterson tradition. It’s a time for Airmen to unwind, enjoy their favorite activities and show off their sporting talents. But, sports day can also bring trouble to those who are not prepared, such as blistering sunburn, broken bones and dehydration if not prepared beforehand.
We can have fun in the sun as long as we take the necessary precautions. The two types of harmful rays to protect your skin from are Ultraviolet A or “UVA,” which accelerates the aging process and passes through glass — windshields and windows, for example — and Ultraviolet B or “UVB,” which are cancerous and cause damage to the skin. These rays are at their strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Look for a sunscreen of sun protection factor 15 or greater that is water resistant. The more susceptible your skin is to burning, the higher your SPF should be. Apply sunscreen when exposed to sunlight for more than 10 minutes per day, and reapply every two hours when exercising and after swimming. Other preventive measures include hats, clothing and umbrellas.
Injuries can occur due to muscle overuse when participating in certain activities or by a forceful contact with an object. Protection is crucial, so wearing the right gear is important. Helmets, mouth guards, tape, wraps, braces and pads all help support and protect the body from strains, direct blows and possible injury. Any injury that results in swelling, numbness, intense pain or tenderness, stiffness or loss of flexibility should be taken seriously. Know your limits when it comes to sporting event participation.
Our sports day typically sees temperatures above 80 degree, so staying hydrated is essential. Drinking water sustains performance, prevents dehydration and helps maintain the body’s core temperature. Sweating is the body’s way of cooling itself during physical activity. A rule of thumb is to drink two cups of water for every pound of weight lost during physical activity. It is recommended that we drink 16 ounces of water prior to physical activity, 16 ounces during the activity and 16 ounces afterward. Sports drinks help maintain hydration for workouts in the heat greater than 60 minutes. Simply stated, remember the basic training phrase: “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!”
The morning of sports day, eat a healthy breakfast such as a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a piece of fruit or a bowl of cereal with skim milk and a sliced banana. Bring a snack along like a granola bar with a bag of carrots. If you participate in afternoon activities, have a piece of chicken breast on a salad with whole wheat crackers for lunch. Over-indulging on high fat foods prior to activity can cause an upset stomach or worse. Lack of calories can also decrease your energy level. As with any other activity, optimum performance is attained through a proper balanced diet.
Your personal safety is a priority not just on sports day but every day. Peterson’s Health and Wellness Center offers a variety of information on these and other topics. Call 556-4292 for more information.