Tips For Exercising In The Heat
Are you exercising in the summer heat? Here are our top tips on how to exercise and stay cool.
How Exercising In Heat Affects Your Body:
Exercising in the heat puts extra stress on your body for a number of reasons. Ordinarily exercise increases your core body temperature, this is further compounded with high ambient temperature.
Your body will attempt to cool itself through sweating and by sending blood to the surface of your skin. Although this will assist in cooling, it will divert blood from your muscles thus increasing your heart rate and relative work for the same intensity. Ie this will make exercise harder than it normally is.
Humid conditions further compound this as sweat does not evaporate as easily from your skin thus increasing your core body temperature further and further increasing the relative difficulty of exercise.
In normal conditions these systems work to maintain your core body temperature. However during prolonged heat exposure, lack of hydration or high humidity these systems can fail resulting in injury.
Heat Related Injuries:
Heat related injuries can range from relatively minor heat cramps through to heat exhaustion and potentially life threatening heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke/exhaustion:
- Body temperatures in excess of 40°
- Headaches & visual disturbance
- Muscle cramps
If any of these symptoms are present you should stop exercising, cool your body temperature and seek immediate medical attention.
Tips For Exercising In Hot/Humid Conditions:
- Watch the weather: the easiest way to avoid injury is to not exercise in hot and humid conditions so keep an eye on the weather. If you must exercise in hot conditions try and find covered areas to exercise or at the very least avoid exercising in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest.
- Stay hydrated: don’t wait until your thirsty to drink as most heat injuries are related to dehydration. As we sweat more in hotter conditions you will require more fluids than you normally would for the same exercise in cooler conditions. If your exercise is particularly intense consider a sports drink as this will replenish electrolytes that are lost in sweat.
- Dress appropriately: wear light coloured, loose fitting breathable clothing and a hat.
- Be sun smart: sunburn will inhibit your body’s ability to thermoregulate and you will overheat faster than usual.
- Have an alternative exercise plan: if conditions are particularly bad consider exercising on another day or inside.