Distance races should be scheduled to avoid extremely hot and humid and very cold months. The local weather history should be consulted when scheduling an event. Organizers should be cautious of unseasonably hot or cold days in early spring and late fall because entrants may not be sufficiently acclimatized. The windchill index should be used to reschedule races on cold, windy days because flesh may freeze rapidly and cold injuries may result.
Summer events should be scheduled in the early morning or the evening to minimize solar radiation and air temperature. Winter events should be scheduled at midday to minimize the risk of cold injury.
The heat stress index should be measured at the site of the race because meteorological data from a distant weather station may vary considerably from local conditions. The wet bulb globe temperature WBGT index is widely used in athletic and industrial settings see Appendix A. If the WBGT index is aboveF, or if the ambient dry bulb temperature is below -C -F, consideration should be given to canceling the race or rescheduling it until less stressful conditions prevail. If the WBGT index is below C, participants should be alerted to the risk of heat illness by using signs posted at the start of the race and at key positions along the race course see Postscript: Measurement of Environmental Stress, pageAlso, race organizers should monitor changes in weather conditions. WBGT monitors can be purchased commercially, or figuremay be used to approximate the risk of racing in hot environments based on air temperature and relative humidity. These two measures are available from local meteorological stations and media weather reports, or can be measured with a sling psychrometer.
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An adequate supply of fluid must be available before the start of the race, along the race course, and at the end of the event. Runners should be encouraged to replace their sweat losses or consume – ml oz every min. Sweat loss can be derived by calculating the difference between pre and postexercise body weight.
Cool or cold ice water immersion is the most effective means of cooling a collapsed hyperthermic runner. Wetting runners externally by spraying or sponging during exercise in a hot environment is pleasurable but does not fully attenuate the rise in body core temperature. Wetting the skin can result in effective cooling once exercise ceases.
Race officials should be aware of the warning signs of an impending collapse in both hot and cold environments and should warn runners to slow down or stop if they appear to be in difficulty.
Adequate traffic and crowd control must be maintained along the course at all times.
Radio communication or cellular telephones should connect various points on the course with an information processing center to coordinate emergency responses.
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