Select Page

by Kelly Campbell

Whether you’re battling 100 degree temperatures in the desert or 95% humidity on the East Coast this summer, TrackitHub has you covered with ways to avoid overheating while playing outdoor pickleball.

Is the summer heat keeping you in the AC instead of out on the pickleball court? Picklers rejoice! TrackitHub has all the answers you need to avoid overheating and keep your focus on pickleball this summer. 

No matter where you live, it’s easy to overdo it in the heat. Outdoor sports athletes, including pickleball players, are at risk for heat stress when they do not take proper precautions and prepare for high temperatures. Even light exercise in extreme conditions can pose dangerous health risks. 

What is Heat Exhaustion? 

The official heat exhaustion definition is “a condition marked by weakness, nausea, dizziness, and profuse sweating that results from physical exertion in a hot environment.” Simply put, when someone is overheated, it means that their body cannot cool itself off. Overheating and heat exhaustion typically go hand-in-hand with other heat-related issues like dehydration and heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heat rash, excessive sweating, dizziness, muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, extreme thirst, rapid heartbeat, and loss of consciousness. 

Who is at risk for heat stress and heat illness?

Those who are older, take certain medications, are diabetic, obese, underweight, or suffer from mental illness and alcoholism are more likely to show symptoms of heat stress. Risks for heat-induced conditions increase when the heat index, or the apparent temperature, is above 90 degrees. Sun and humidity make temperatures feel even hotter than reported, increasing the heat index even when the actual temperature is below 90 degrees. Even seemingly mild heat reactions can progress to more serious health situations later on, including heart issues, memory loss, brain damage, and death. This puts pickleball players at an increased risk –– pickleball courts are often outdoors and in direct sunlight. 

The good news is that with proper precautions, players can minimize their risk of sun and heat illness  –– just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean your game should suffer. There are plenty of ways to stay healthy, hydrated, and cool to keep you dinking at the optimal level. Make sure you’re prepared to battle extreme heat and temperatures before heading out to a practice or match.

Are you avoiding pickleball practice this summer because of the heat? Read on to learn how to avoid overheating this summer. Utilize Trackithub’s Guide to Prevent Pickleball Overheating to stay safe, beat the heat, and enjoy the game you love all year round.

Before Your Pickleball Match or Practice 

Wear 30SPF+ Sunscreen 

Wear an SPF of 30 or higher any time you’re outdoors, both during pickleball and non-pickleball-related activities. Sunburn drastically increases the risk of more serious heat-related illnesses. A bad sunburn can cause issues on its own, including painful lesions and blisters, fever and nausea, and an increased risk for skin cancer, but even mild sunburn can increase the likelihood of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Make sure you lather up before any pickleball practice or game. 

Hydrate for Hours  

One of the most impactful ways to avoid heat-related issues is staying hydrated –– but if you’re only drinking water while you’re playing, it’s already too late. Especially in the summer months, it’s imperative to stay hydrated every day to function optimally, whether or not you’re exercising or spending time in the sun. WebMD suggests drinking 17 to 20 ounces of fluid two to three hours before exercise and another 8 ounces right before exercise. Beverages rich in sodium, potassium and other electrolytes (think Gatorade, coconut water, Liquid IV, and even Pedialyte) are even better to drink to prepare you for heat and exercise. You can also maintain proper hydration by eating fruits and vegetables, which are a great water source. Long-term hydration will keep you safe from the sun and heat while maximizing your pickleball performance. 

Avoid or Limit Alcohol Consumption and Caffeine 

Regardless of outside temperatures, if you truly want to have lasting energy and perform well, it’s best to ditch the coffee and booze up to 24 hours before a match. A hangover won’t help you play pickleball well, and caffeine crashes will make it hard to keep up with fast-paced opponents. In the summer heat, avoiding alcohol and caffeine is especially important –– both accelerate dehydration and will put you at an increased risk to suffer from heat exhaustion. Alcohol can impair muscle growth and recovery and slow reaction time, making the alcohol and heat combination especially difficult to overcome. 

While You’re Dinking 

Dink & Drink Fluids 

As previously mentioned, it’s crucial to be hydrated before pickleball practice and games, but it’s also essential to drink water while you play. Drinking water is a great way to cool down and replenish what you lose while sweating. Increased temperatures and sun exposure lead to increased sweat production, making it especially important to drink water while exercising on hot days. WebMD recommends drinking 7 to 10 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise, whether or not you feel thirsty. 

Pickle Juice For Picklers & Other Salty Solutions 

Heat cramps occur as a result of prolonged exercise in excessive heat, leading to the body losing sweat and electrolytes. Salt is a surprisingly effective solution to combat muscle cramps. To prevent and relieve heat cramps, we recommend packing and drinking seemingly unconventional high-sodium household staples – pickle juice, mustard, and saltwater  – during your match or game. Just trust us.

Dress to Impress Avoid Heat Stress

On sweltering days, be sure to dress accordingly. Loose-fitting clothing will increase air flow, and won’t soak up sweat as much as tighter-fitting garments. Wear light colors –– darker colors attract the sun. You should also consider wearing a hat or visor to keep the sun out of your face and eyes. 

Take More Breaks

When temperatures rise, you need to take more breaks from the game. We know it can be hard to pull yourself away after a lengthy rally or intense matchup, but your body will thank you. Taking a break gives your body a few minutes to reset and cool down so you can avoid overexerting yourself.

Invest in a Cooling Towel 

A cooling towel, sold at most major stores like Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, and even FiveBelow, is a great, cheap heat solution ($3-$20) to keep in your pickleball bag. Cooling towels are easy to use and carry and provide instant heat relief. To use, activate with water and wear on your body to cool down. Depending on the brand, they can stay cold for up to 3 hours. Cooling towels are lifesavers and will help bring your body temperature down whether you’re dangerously overheating or just want to take preventative measures to keep cool while you play. 

Post-Pickleball Recovery

Hydrate to Replenish

Seeing a theme here? Hydrating post-pickleball is another vital step to take to maximize recovery after playing pickleball in the heat. Grab a drink that is rich in electrolytes and make sure to eat. Post-exercise care and recovery are even more essential when it’s hot out. Here are some snack and drink suggestions that are rich in electrolytes (sodium, calcium, potassium, etc.)  to replenish what you lost while sweating: Gatorade, watermelon, bananas, avocados, yogurt, fruit juice, and smoothies.

Move Indoors or In the Shade 

Even if the sun is unavoidable on the court while playing, make sure to seek shade or go inside as soon as you’re done. Temperatures in the shade are usually drastically lower than in the sunshine and taking a break from sun exposure so your body temperature can regulate is necessary. Once your match or practice is over, head indoors (ideally in air-conditioning) to begin the recovery process and avoid prolonged sun and heat exposure. 

Take a Cold Shower 

For obvious reasons, hop in the shower after any pickleball game or match. But in especially hot months, consider taking a cold shower to cool down and regulate your body temperature. Ice baths and cold showers are proven to help with muscle recovery and promote blood flow. Cold showers can also lower cortisol levels, which often elevate due to heat-related stress.

*If you feel that you are experiencing an extreme reaction to heat or are showing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, head to the emergency room as soon as possible*