The heat of many of us tests our strength. On especially hot days, all desires come down to waiting out this time somewhere in the shade or under air conditioning, or even better – on the beach with ice cream and cold drinks. And sports are not included in these plans. Don’t let the summer get in the way of achieving and maintaining your fitness goals. Follow a few simple guidelines for a safe and effective workout.
The dangers of exercising in the heat
Exercise itself and the heat outside raise your body temperature. At this point, blood is directed to the surface of the skin. This leaves less blood for the muscles, which in turn increases the heart rate.
If, in addition to this, there is increased moisture, the body faces additional stress, because the sweat evaporates from the skin slowly. This causes overheating.
Under normal conditions, the skin, circulatory system, and sweat levels adapt to the heat. But these natural cooling systems can fail if you are exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you don’t sweat enough, and you don’t drink enough fluids.
The first thing people who play sports in the heat may encounter is heat exhaustion or heatstroke in critical cases.
What is typical for them?
- Convulsions. Many people experience unpleasant muscle contractions. In this case, the affected areas become hard to the touch.
- Feeling dizzy and weak. It is observed both during training in extreme heat, and with a sharp cessation of physical activity.
- Heat. With heat exhaustion, the body temperature rises to 40 ° C in 10-15 minutes. In this case, everything can be accompanied by nausea, loss of strength, headache, sweating and, in extreme cases, fainting. If you do not respond to heat exhaustion, it can lead to heatstroke, which is much more dangerous.
What else is a sign of overheating? Irritability, tiredness, incoherent speech, heart rhythm problems, darkening of the eyes, etc. In this case, immediate medical attention is needed to prevent brain damage and internal organ failure.
So how do you train in hot weather?
Drink plenty of fluids
Obviously, you sweat more when it gets hotter and wetter, so make sure to drink enough fluids when exercising. It is recommended to drink 0.5-0.7 ml of water a couple of hours before training at high temperatures. At the same time, during exercise, it recommends drinking 0.2-0.3 ml every 15-20 minutes of the session. If we are talking about moderate loads for less than an hour, there will be enough water. Anything more intense will require isotonic and other sports drinks to replenish lost electrolytes.
By drinking water throughout each workout, you will keep your blood volume close to normal, which will ensure a high level of perspiration. And because oxygen is delivered to the muscles through the blood, maintaining blood volume through drinking also allows the heart to deliver more oxygen per contraction. This makes training more efficient and safer.
But it’s important to note that drinking too much water is harmful. Can cause water intoxication and reduce sodium in the bloodstream. What are the consequences? Headache, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, blood pressure rises, it becomes more difficult to breathe, and there is a clouding of mind.
Choose the right clothes
Sweating is the body’s primary cooling mechanism. When exercising in hot weather, be sure to choose clothing that allows this mechanism to do its job. Wear a loose, light-colored uniform made from sweat-wicking synthetic fabric (not cotton). It absorbs sweat and dries quickly. It helps the body breathe and cool naturally through evaporation. Dark clothing absorbs sunlight and heat, while tighter clothing limits cooling and also creates discomfort.
Many people make the mistake of dressing for a workout in layers on purpose in order to lose weight faster. But water loss is not a sign of weight loss. This is only a protective function that helps cool the body when the temperature rises from high physical activity.
It is very important to apply sunscreen whenever you spend time in the sun, including exercising. Protect your skin with a waterproof sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection, protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunburn is not only harmful to the skin, but also limits the cooling rate of the body as damaged skin loses its ability to perspire.
Adapt your training intensity
Safe and effective acclimatization involves gradual adaptation to changing environmental conditions. Excessive heat greatly affects our performance, so at first, start with loads that last no more than 20-30 minutes.
Gradually increase the intensity and be sure to listen to your body. Stop if you feel that something is going wrong. Use the heart rate monitor to get a more accurate picture of your internal reactions.
And the obvious tip when it comes to exercising in hot weather is to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when the heat peaks subside and conditions become more comfortable for physical activity. If training is to be done outdoors, choose a shady area. For more challenging workouts, head to the air-conditioned gym.
If we talk about training in the summer in the gym, then when discomfort arises, the easiest way to cool your body is to use a towel. It is enough to wet it, wring it out and throw it around your neck. As a result, the temperature of the blood in the arms and neck decreases, which is then recirculated into the wider bloodstream of the body. This is enough for instant cooling.
Choosing safe sports
In hot weather, you can choose sports that your body can handle more easily. The ideal option is swimming, wakeboarding, kayaking and anything to do with water. Yoga and Pilates are also good alternatives because they are really beneficial from a fitness standpoint and require less energy than running or cycling. If you’re worried that your condition may worsen during exercise, work with a partner.
Focus on your health. Certain diseases, such as gastrointestinal diseases, can cause dehydration and negatively affect the regulation of body temperature.
It should be said that “hot workouts” have their own benefits. Studies have shown that exercising at high temperatures can increase blood plasma volume (leading to improved cardiovascular health), lower blood lactate levels, increase skeletal muscle strength, and, paradoxically, make a person exercise better at lower temperatures.
That is why such directions exist and are popular as hot yoga… Asanas are performed indoors at a temperature of 27 to 38 ° C, while the humidity is 40-50%. On average, a lesson in such conditions lasts 1 hour.
All recommendations for training during the heat boil down to the following:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Dress properly. Wear lightweight, breathable, light-colored clothing that helps sweat to evaporate.
- For outdoor workouts in hot weather, be sure to use sunscreen.
- Gradually increase the intensity of the loads and the time of training, give the body the opportunity to acclimatize.
- For outdoor training in hot weather, choose sports that are appropriate for your health and fitness. Or give preference to a room with air conditioning and good ventilation.