Snow Tennis Anyone?

We had another snow storm here today. It started late last night and ended about 2pm and gave us about 8 inches of pure powder to play with. After multiple shoveling trips and sledding with the kids I started thinking about playing outside. I play ice hockey and that is natural to play outside on the pond. Then I thought of all the tennis players that I work with. They have to play inside tennis bubbles more than 1/2 the year here in New England. I don’t think the ball would bounce like it should in even an inch of snow, but there would be much greater hazards other than a “dead” ball if they choose to play outside year round.

The largest environmental concern for people exercising out doors is probably humidity, but cold temperatures can hamper athletic fun too. I think of the poor “polar bear” swimmers who take a plunge into the Boston Harbor on January first every year and I have earnest concern for their safety.

Thermal conductivity of water is about 25 times greater than that of air. These nut job swimmers can be losing body heat 25 times faster than if they were not submerged in water. As heat production in the drops below heat loss, hypothermia can set in. In addition to heat loss do to submersion in cold water, hypothermia is also influenced by insulation of the human body, external temperature, vapor pressure, wind and energy production. Athletes who train out doors are susceptible to hypothermia in region like the Northeast. Wearing appropriate clothing that will wick water away from the body and covering the head are two measures in addition to using common sense about prolonged exposure to elements that can help prevent hypothermia. If an athlete were to contract hypothermia; get them out of the cold, remove wet clothing, provide warm; drinks, clothing and sleeping bag (perhaps even climbing in the sleeping bag with them for heat if their condition is severe enough) and find a source of heat.

So the next time you feel compelled to play some snow tennis during a Nor'Easter, keep these tips in mind and let me know how the ball bounces! I might just fire up some Wii Tennis now!

...and if you decide to exercise outside in the winter, remember to cover your head and wear clothes that will wick moisture way from your body!

Thanks for Reading.

Eric Beard

Corrective Exercise Specialist

Athletic performance Enhancement Specialist

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