It’s been quite hot these last couple of days/weeks. Not always ideal for those of you who want to work out… So what now? How do you survive?
Some people are more at risk than others (obese, older, untrained or very muscular people), but there are some things you can do to prevent heat illness when excercising.
Drink plenty of water
Probably not a big suprise here. The more you sweat, the more you need to compensate. Water works as an “internal airconditioning system” to help cool you off. Drink about 1.25 l (preferably cold) water for every liter you sweat, since not all fluid is used effecively to fill up the gap. Not being hydrated can cause loss of performance, cramps, nausea, headaches, and that nasty dark coloured urine. Try to stay away from caffeïne or alcohol, since they will dehyrate you even more.
Consider adding some sodium to your water
Adding sodium can help with water retention, making you keep the water in your body a little easier. It also helps to counter the loss of elektrolytes which exit the body through your sweat.
Not the time to go from zero to hero
If you’re not used to training in these temperatures, don’t try and be a hero. Good on you that you want to work out, but take it easy. You body temperature regulation system is not as well-developed as that of a world-class athlete. So don’t go crazy on your first workout.
A cap or sunglasses can do wonders.
Use external cooling
Using cooling such as water and ice can help bring your body temperature down. Try applying it to the “pulse points”: areas where you can feel your heart beat. The explanation is pretty straightforward: cooling helps by getting the blood vessels exposed to your cooling point, making them cool off the blood a little. The easier you can feel the pulse, the closer that blood vessel is to your skin, therefor the easier it will get the cooling effect. Some good areas include the wrists and neck.
Eat cool foods
Something fresh like a salad or a cold piece of fruit can be much better for you than that hot lasagna. It will help you get that internal temperature down just a little lower.
Try to avoid being straight in the sun
Not really rocket science but yeah, this can help a lot.
Pick your time
Don’t go excercising at the middle of the afternoon. Be smart and either go early (7:00 am or earlier) or late (after 8:00) to avoid max temperatures.
Cool down your house/workplace
What’s even more effective than making that 1 hour workout as sustainable as possible, is making the best of the other 23 hours in your day. Some tips:
– keep the windows closed thoughout the day and let the rooms ventilate at night, when it is cooler. That way, you keep the heat out.
– try and sit next to the fan
– sit in the shadow
– wear appropriate clothing
– if you are having trouble sleeping, try sleeping with wet socks or cold blankets (put them in your fridge or freezer!)
So: keep training but stay safe there my hot friends!