Training in the heat

We are well and truly into the hotter time of the year and although it is nice to wake up to warm light mornings,the extra temperature does provide some additional challenges for physical activity. However, you can’t put your health ‘on ice’ just because it’s hot so here’s a few facts and pointers to consider when exercising in the warmer weather;

  • The performance of both physical and mental tasks can be adversely affected by heat and dehydration
  • Adjust your expectations (or those of your trainer!) – heat increases perception of effort so you will feel more tired for a given activity. Don’t be discouraged and assume it’s you! It is important to listen to your body. Over summer with regular and consistent training your body will start to acclimatise.
  • Be aware that acclimatisation will actually increase perspiration rates (as this is such a good cooling mechanism) so you will need to keep up your fluid intake.
  • If exercising outdoors, shady areas are obviously preferable as well as trying to utilise the cooler parts of the day
  • Exercise in a hot environment elevates the body temperature more significantly than usual and can lead to heat exhaustion or in severe situations, heat stroke. Symptoms include; dizziness, nausea, headache. Highest risk is associated with high intensity long duration events and dehydration.
  • On hot and humid days choose shorter intervals and weights based sessions. Drinking sips of cool water and standing in front of the fans between intervals will help prevent core body temperature reaching concerning levels.
  • Hydration is very important and helps to prevent heat stress but…don’t over drink, too much fluid intake can be dangerous. If you weigh more at the end of a work out than the start, you are likely drinking too much.
  • Avoid suddenly drinking a large volume of water, especially in a dehydrated state, or on arrival at the gym. This can increase the risk of throwing up during high intensity activity. Rather, drink regularly through the day.

-Tanya Lewis

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