Defeating the summer heat one workout at a time

6862603735_abd23dc767_bSummer is finally here and let’s face it… It’s a hot one! The winter chill has finally subsided and everyone is antsy to get outside and enjoy the weather. However, temperatures over 80 degrees make exercising outside a bit more difficult. Taking a walk and going for a run, in sweltering heat, can be unbearable until after dusk.

Here are a few essential tips and strategies that may come in handy when exercising in hot and humid weather:

  • The body can anticipate and control heat buildup, so to achieve your most effective workout, make sure to start off slow and pace yourself. This will give your body time to adapt to the hot environment.
  • Now your next question might be: How long does it take for my body to adapt to the heat? Everyone’s adaptation patterns will vary but there is a strong adaptation response that starts a few days after exercising in the heat. A full body adaptation can take up to up to two weeks.
  • Pre-cooling before exercise is scientifically proven to help improve performance in the heat because it keeps your body cooler for a longer period of time
  • Wearing loose, light colored clothing can also help keep the body cool. It’s important to remember that sweating doesn’t cool the body but the evaporation of sweat does. Wearing loose clothing will help give the body room to breathe.

Not only is it important to know how to effectively exercise in the heat, but it is also crucial to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Keeping an eye out for these symptoms will help to ensure safety while training in the heat.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Headaches
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, moist skin
  • Chills
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fast or shallow breathing

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Warm, dry skin with no sweating
  • Strong and rapid pulse
  • High fever
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting

The most important thing to know when exercising in the heat is that it’s not inherently dangerous as long as you listen to your body. If you feel faint or dizzy take a break and re-hydrate. Try to stay cool and enjoy the beautiful summer!

Photo credit: jacsonquerubin


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