During strenuous physical activities, the body emanates a lot of heat. An athlete’s core body temperature can elevate from your optimum 98.6° F to more than 104° F! Perspiration is the body’s way to normalize the body temperature, through the process of radiation. When you sweat profusely you are losing the fluids your body needs to function well. Heat stress can bring on fatigue, cause you to underperform in your sport and reduce your overall endurance.
A cooling towel is an efficient, inexpensive option for bringing down your body temperature when the mercury is on the rise. In fact, towel-snapping has taken on a whole new meaning with a variety of new cooling towels designed to beat the heat when dampened, wrung out, snapped and draped around your neck. You may have seen these colorful towels “putting the chill” on some top athletes.
According to the instructions for several popular brands of chilling towels, to activate the chill, you just wet the towel with water, wring it out and snap it. Some commercial cooling towels claim their towels cool to as low as 30° F below the average body temperature. Consumer Reports gives mixed reviews, but except in very high humidity, the effect of using a cooling towel is a positive one when it comes to cooling you down when temperatures are going up.
Besides using a cooling towel, athletes should remember to stay well hydrated. Drink anywhere from 2 to 4 cups of water every couple of hours. Wear light-colored clothing and pace your physical activity. If you’re feeling weak or faint, get to a cool environment as soon as possible and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or persist.