Exercising in Hot Weather
Summer's here, no doubt about that. Many of us use the warmer weather as an excuse to exercise outdoors more, but with that comes the need to use caution, especially on very hot days (near 100 F!). Below are some of our body's reactions when it gets overheated and overworked and under-hydrated. Those at greater risks for these conditions are those who are obese, elderly, young (i.e children) or have sweat-related abnormalities. Other factors such as alcoholism and cardiovascular disease can bring on heat-related dangers as well.
Exercising places extra stress on your body. Through higher ambient temperatures and exercise, your core body temperature raises, so to cool itself it sends more blood to circulate through your skin; this leaves less blood for your muscles, which increases your heart rate. And if you exercise in high humidity areas, the danger of over-heating is compounded because your sweat doesn't evaporate from your skin as easily, pushing your body temperature even higher.
Muscle Cramps - Perhaps the most common effect of over-heating while exercising is experiencing muscle cramps. If your muscles begin to cramp, it's extremely important to cool down and hydrate, as it can lead to something more serious, like heat stroke.
Heat Exhaustion - This is a precursor to heat stroke. With heat exhaustion your body temperature can rise as high as 104 F, and you'll experience nausea, vomiting, headaches, faintness and weakness. This is your body telling you it can't control its temperature; it can't cool itself down under the current conditions and stress, and when this happens your organs begin to swell, which is very dangerous.
Heat Stroke - Heat stroke is a dangerous, even life-threatening, event. It happens when your body temperature reaches above 104 F. You become confused and irritable. Emergency care is needed if you or someone you know is experiencing heat stroke.
What You Can Do - By taking some simple precautions you can safely exercise all summer. First, understand what the weather will be like when you're exercising. You may choose to exercise earlier in the morning or later in the evening when it is less warm.
Always drink extra water before, during and after your workout. If you're going for a run/walk/bike ride, perhaps choose a route where you can fill up your water bottle along the way. And always drink BEFORE you get thirsty. Thirst means your body is already stressing. Don't let it get there.
Instead of doing longer routines a few times a week, perhaps try doing shorter ones more times in the week.
If you have questions about exercising in the summer, ask us in the MyNetDiary Community Forum or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!
Myth Busted: You DO NOT burn more calories by exercising in warmer weather. Don't confuse increased sweating for true weight loss - it's water leaving your body, not fat.