As warmer weather settles in, we all want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. But if you’re planning a workout, be aware that the extra heat puts more stress on your body. You’ll want to take extra steps to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Here’s how it works. When your body starts to get too hot, it sends blood up to your skin where it can be cooled by evaporating sweat. But this leaves less blood for the muscles you’re working out. That in turn makes your heart work harder, increasing your heart rate. And when humidity is really high, your sweat doesn’t cool you as quickly, so your core temperature soars. It’s a cardiovascular double whammy, leading to dehydration and heat-related illnesses.
Let’s take a look at these illnesses and their symptoms:
Heat cramps – painful muscle spasms
Exercise-associated collapse – dizziness or fainting after a long workout or long periods of standing or sitting in the heat
Heat exhaustion – headache, weakness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, sweating and clammy skin
Heat stroke – potentially life threatening, symptoms can include confusion, dizziness, nausea, visual problems and heart rhythm issues
As you can see there are quite a range of symptoms. Do not ignore these issues. If left untreated, heat-related illnesses can become medical emergencies in a hurry.
This doesn’t mean you can’t exercise if the sun’s out. It just means you need to take some extra care when you do.
Check the temperature
Look at the forecast and see what the temperatures are expected to be during your activity.
Dress for success
Loose fitting clothing gives sweat a chance to cool your body, and a hat can help protect you from the sun’s rays.
Don’t go too hard on day one. Start slowly and let your body adapt to the heat over days or weeks.
Sweating uses a lot of fluids. Drink plenty of water and consider a sports drink to replenish the electrolytes you burn while exercising.
Now you know how to beat the heat and keep up those exercise routines. Stay healthy this summer, and don’t forget the sunscreen!