Monday, June 13, 2011

Tennis Players: How to Beat the Heat

This summer, same as the last, I am a Sports Camp Counselor. Each week the sport I work with changes, and this week it is tennis. So in honor of all the tennis girls I will get to spend my time with this week, I thought we would talk about something they have to worry about quite a bit: muscle cramps due to the heat.


I’ve grown up in a family where tennis is a part of our lives. My parents play, my sisters play, and I pretend to play. But it can get super hot outside, which means you need to be careful. (this can also be helpful to all your exercisers/runners out there that like to do it outside!)

In general, muscle cramping results from muscle fatigue. However, athletes that spend a large amount of time outside can suffer from heat cramps. These typically arise as the result of dehydration and electrolyte loss that can come with sweating. Because of this fatigued muscle, there is a change in the way the nerves communicate with the muscle. This results in a contraction or a spasm.


Since we know the cause of most muscle cramps, fatigue and dehydration, we know that the best thing to do: stay hydrated and stay fueled.

As far as preventative measures, fitness plays a huge role and every player should strive to develop a strong base of fitness.  Maintaining proper hydration, and drinking fluids before, during and after play can help with this. Also, if you suffer from electrolyte loss, try to increase sodium in your diet. That is frequently what you lose most of.

Listening to your body and being smart about when you play are always important. Try to play earlier in the morning or later in the day with more shade. And when you feel muscles starting to tighten, maybe it is time to call it a day.

Stay cool!


  1. I had crazy cramps during my first few marathons until I finally learned what you mentioned - that prevention is the key. Great tips!

  2. oh I hear ya on this! during the summer, I acutally have to add sea salt to everything just to keep my muscles from cramping. ugh.

  3. I have some bad problems with side cramps!

    Also, I love that you're a sports camp counselor. I used to teach horseback riding camp every summer. I miss it!


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