Today’s heat index is anticipated to hit 108°, which is pretty gross, and while we all want to stick to our routines there are changes you need to make when it’s hot out. Exercise on hot days is a high-stress event.
Anytime the temperature climbs exercise, especially outdoors, carries additional risks. The movement itself conspires with the air temperature and humidity to raise your core body temperature quickly and you may not notice problems developing. Your body will try to cool itself by circulating more blood through your skin which leaves less blood for your muscles to use and can increase your heartrate rapidly. Humidity can prevent the evaporation of sweat, especially because we live in a snug little river valley, leaving your built-in cooling systems at a serious disadvantage.
Being hot can feel like a natural part of working out, but there’s a healthy range for everything and if your core temperature exceeds your normal parameters there are real dangers. Heat-related problems can include painful muscle cramps, lightheadedness or dizziness, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and collapse.
But you’re smart and careful and you can avoid all that!
- Reduce your effort on hot days or in hot environments.
- Pay attention to warning signs like excessive sweating, no sweating, headache, confusion, irritability, visual changes, or nausea.
- Make sure you’re acclimated to the heat before you swap from indoor activities to outdoor workouts.
- Stay well hydrated.
- Slow your pace, decrease your reps, and be mindful of the fact that the heat is increasing the difficulty of whatever you’re doing.
- Watch the temperature and consider delaying or altering a workout accordingly.
- Avoid being outdoors midday, sticking to early and after-dusk times when the air is slightly cooler.
- Dress appropriately for your sport and the weather.
- Stay aware of any underlying medical issues. Something small that doesn’t interfere with your regular workouts can be seriously magnified by heat.
- Have a Plan B. If your run isn’t safe and sane today head for a treadmill instead. Maybe stick to the gym this time and head outside next time.
- Be ready for emergencies. Have additional water, sports drinks, ice packs, and a phone with you. If you’re not feeling well and don’t recover in 20 minutes or so, get medical help.
- Know your limits and stop before problems develop. There’s no shame in surviving to work out tomorrow.
As a rule of thumb if the temperature outside is 80 or higher with 80% humidity or more, it’s a good day to stay inside. So how about heading to CFR this week to get your workouts in?
Be safe, and we hope to see you sweating (in a healthy way) at our place.