I might be writing in English for the folks in the United States as they go thru real harsh cold weather this time of the year, but in fact, right now I am suffering (I wanted to find another word but I guess the heat has been limiting my ability to write) from the heat as I spend my vacation in Brazil.
As I write this article the temperature in São Paulo feels like 91oF and it will get higher. And as I try to accommodate my exercise routine in this intense heat – I know you might be thinking I could exercise early in the day so I would get it done and avoid the the higher temperatures during the day, I am not an early riser exercise type of person – so I thought I'd post some information on exercise and heat-related complications, so when summer arrives in the north hemisphere you might be ready to make more informed decisions.
Exercising in the heat may jeopardize your health and the benefits of physical activity. If the day is hot and humid it gets even worse because it decreases your ability to dissipate the heat and that might lead to extreme weakness and fatigue and heat stroke, meaning that our body fails to control its temperature and that may cause damage to the brain and other internal organs.
I am not telling you not to exercise in high temperatures (or maybe I should tell you that!), however you should definitely get prepared by keeping your body hydrated and acclimatized.
There is plenty of research supporting you should begin a workout fully hydrated. Greater than normal hydration prior to exercising may delay dehydration during workout, which helps you maintain your exercise performance. This greater than normal fluid intake intensify your body's ability to control its temperature and increases plasma volume to maintain cardiac output, which is the volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute.
You should then drink plenty of fluid prior to starting your workout and should continue drinking during workouts longer than one hour. So if you plan on outdoor activities, such as running, cycling or even boot camp classes done outside, make sure you plan ways of keeping yourself hydrated.
Preventing dehydration is very difficult since if also affects your ability to ingest and absorb fluid while exercising. Make sure to consider this when exercising in the heat.
Make sure you check the color of your urine, you can monitor your hydration level that way. The lighter the color, the better the level of hydration.
We all know that if you live in a harsh-cold-weather location you will certainly be more tolerant to the cold weather than someone who lives in a area near the equator. So constant exposure to the heat will, without doubt, make you more able to adjust yourself to such conditions, lessening the cardiovascular stress to exercising in the heat. Becoming acclimatized takes time, you should take about 2 weeks to introduce yourself slowly to the heat.
- If you are more like me and just cannot exercise early in the day, try to do your workout in the shade and watch your choice of clothing. Prefer the light colored and loose fitted ones.
Following these suggestions you will not only be safer, reducing risk of injuries but also get more out of your workout.
Stay safe, stay cool!
Full-time traveler, movement geek, human anatomy lover, BASI Pilates certified instructor, Movement educator, Massage Therapist, BuffBones® faculty and instructor, Shiatsu practitioner and more currently a vlooger and blogger!
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