As summer months approach, it’s wise to remind clients and class participants of the dangers of exercising in hot weather. According to a recent study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2011; 40 [1], 54–60), heat-related injury rates are rising. The retrospective analysis used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1997 through 2006. During that time, approximately 54,983 of the people treated in emergency rooms were treated for heat-related injuries. The number increased by 133.5% between 1997 and 2006. The report also stated that individuals age 19 and younger accounted for nearly half of reported injuries; football-playing boys were at greatest risk. Overall, the majority of injuries were associated with sport or exercise participation, and people 19 and younger were the most likely to become injured during such activities. However, adults age 40 and older were more likely to sustain heat-related injuries while performing yard work.

The study concluded that “although there is a risk of exertional heat-related injury among all physically active individuals, sports post a specific risk for people of all ages, especially among children and adolescents playing football.”

For tips on how to avoid heat-related injuries while exercising, read “Stay Cool Under the Hot Sun” [Making News], in the July–August 2010 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.