Heat and Your Body
Extra heat combined with exercise puts your body into a state of stress. You can tell this because your heart rate increases even more, you’ll find yourself sweating more, and you’ll be thirstier. If you don’t take account of these changes, you could make yourself sick with dehydration, heat exhaustion and more.
Spot the Signs
More than any other time, you need to keep an eye on yourself, and any warning signs that you might be getting close to the edge. Avoid medical emergencies by taking the following symptoms seriously:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Low blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Visual problems
Each of these symptoms is associated with overheating. If you experience any of them, don’t brush it aside: Stop immediately, drink some water, and get into the shade. Just think about it, cutting your workout 20 minutes short may prevent you from losing a whole week of exercise.
How to Avoid Getting Sick
- Watch the temperature. If you are aware of how hot it will get, you will have a broad idea of what to expect. Working out in 80 degree heat VS working out in 100 degree heat are two very different things. Keep informed on the weather.
- Get used to the heat. Take it easy at first, if you aren’t used to it. Gradually allow your body to adapt to the heat. This will make it safer, and more enjoyable, in the long term.
- Work to your own fitness level. If you are inexperienced, take it super easy. Hot weather is not the time to push yourself.
- Drink. Water. Never, ever wait until you feel thirsty to drink. If you’re thirsty, it’s already too late. You should also have drinks containing electrolytes on you for extra hydration.
- Dress for the weather. You want to go for light, loose clothing and avoid dark colours. This is because dark colours absorb heat. You should also wear a hat to protect your head, neck and face.
- Don’t go out at midday. The saying goes “mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun.” It’s true. That’s when it is hottest and most dangerous, so stay in.
- Sunscreen is mandatory. You might be one of those people who says, “Oh but I don’t burn,”. Even if you don’t burn visually, letting that much sunlight hit you will still be affecting your body. Protect yourself from UV radiation and cancer by wearing sunscreen.
You can really ruin your week if you get a heat-related illness. They can knock you sideways, and even be quite dangerous. So don’t take risks, be responsible and have fun!