4 Tips to Exercise Safely in the Summer Heat
We’re right in the middle in the hottest time of the year. August is known for being a scorcher, but throw Cincinnati’s humidity on top of it and it’s uncomfortable to simply beoutside. If you’ll be exercising outdoors this month, we want to make sure you’re staying safe while doing so. Here some great advice on avoiding heat exhaustion and staying healthy from the experts at Men’s Fitness.
- Know your body & be able to recognize heat exhaustion.
“In hot (and especially humid) environments, we dissipate heat by physiological cooling mechanisms, including sweating for heat loss via evaporation,” explains Elaine Choung-Hee Lee, Ph.D., associate director of Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Connecticut. “When you’re unable to dissipate enough heat to cool the body, that’s when you might experience heat exhaustion, heat-related illness, or, in extreme cases, heatstroke.”
The signs you’re passing the threshold of heat exhaustion onto something more dangerous: cold and clammy skin, nausea, dizziness and fainting, pale skin, heavy sweating, headaches, decreased coordination, chills, and irritability.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
This is a given for whenever you push your body to work hard. It’s also common sense for when you’re outdoors in extremely hot temperatures. But combining the two means you should be hydrating more than normally.
“Losing 1kg of mass during a workout is equivalent to about 1 liter of water, and you want to rehydrate 150%, so you’d aim to drink 1.5 liters of water over the course of recovery and into the next day,” Lee says. “Dehydration prevents your body from cooling itself since less water means less sweat.”
- Explore outdoor exercise alternatives.
You don’t have to go for a run in 90+ degree temperatures to keep in shape. Aerobic exercises in the pool, hiking in the shade of the woods, or yoga in the early morning are all great options for staying safe in the heat. If you are dedicated to going for a run, there’s nothing wrong with finding a treadmill or indoor track in the A.C.
- Know your limits.
Listen to your body and know when it’s time to give yourself a break. Calling it quits when you start to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke is a much better option than seriously hurting yourself.
“Based on what we observe in field studies, we see high rates of heat stroke in people competing at their maximum intensity and effort in a hot and humid environment in race conditions. But the folks who develop exertion heat stroke are the ones who may experience the cognitive symptoms, collapse, or feel a physical inability to perform, and yet they get up and attempt to continue over and over again,” Lee says.
Says Rachael Schultz, writer for Men’s Fitness: “…while you may think being the first to tap out of a circuit is the most embarrassing thing that can happen at the gym, [I’d] argue passing out or leaving in an ambulance is probably a lot worse.” To read the full article, visit mensfitness.com/training.
As always, stay smart when you’re in any kind of heat. If you’re looking to escape it, you’re always welcome to check into the air conditioning at Beechmont Racquet & Fitness!