Do you neglect your workouts in the summer? Find out how you can exercise safely in hot weather.
What is heat illness?
Heat illness can strike anybody who isn't hydrated enough. Often it occurs over a stretch of a few days. It's what happens to your body when it isn't able to maintain it's normal core temperature, and the body ceases to function. In extreme temperatures you can get ill in several hours. Children, and older adults are more prone to it.
Runners World magazine recommends that after 40 mins of exercise you may need more than just water, and that's in normal temperatures.
There are three levels to heat illness.
1. You might have muscle cramps, and you feel exhausted.
2. Stage two is called heat exhaustion. I have had this, but I had no muscle cramps or any other warning signs. The signs are headache, nausea, vomiting, chills or diarrhea. Get to shade immediately if you develop any of these symptoms.
3. Heat stroke is the third stage. This stage can result in unconsciousness and even death. If your symptoms worsen and your skin becomes hot and dry seek emergency first aid.
If you can't get to the hospital right away, have the individual move to the shade and apply cold water if available.
It's important to know that hydration needs are individual. One way to check your hydration levels is checking the color of your urine. It should be clear if you are adequately hydrated. Remember that high humidity elevates your risk. Runner's world magazine recommends that if you do longer term exercise, supplement with a sports drink. Dr. Hamid Sadrl recommends that you mix 50 per cent water with 50 percent sports drink. Orange juice works too, just add a little salt. It's recommended that you avoid surgery drinks. I like Ultima, it has a nice taste and comes in different flavors, and has no sugar. Other ones are Vega, Nun, and now I hear Gatorade now has a non sugar version.
So, you see, you can exercise safely in the heat. You will have to cut down the duration, and intensity. Remember it takes a few weeks for your body to adjust to the heat in the early parts of the summer. This is the most dangerous time for heat illness to sneak up on you.
If the weather is above 30 degrees, it's best to find some place air conditioned to exercise. Yes, that means that dreaded treadmill or exercise bike. You may opt for early mornings, but I don't recommend running or biking at night. My idea, is to exercise near a lake or stream, so you can cool off after.
With a little planning, and the right clothing you can still get your favorite activity in safely.
Guest post by Debbie L. Belair