Summer Exercise – Hot Tips!

The warmer weather is finally with us after what seemed like a long wet winter. Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. Both the exercise itself, and the air temperature and humidity, can increase your body core temperature.

It’s best to stay cool during exercise. Here are some tips to prevent heat- related problems:

  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout. Water is usually sufficient for work outs less than an hour.
  • If exercising for over an hour you may want to use a sports drink.
  • Drinks are best cool not cold as very cold drinks may cause stomach cramps.
  • Aim to have light or very pale yellow urine as a result of your good fluid intake.
  • Avoid caffeine containing drinks as they can cause you to lose more fluids.
  • Exercise in the cooler parts of the day or in an air conditioned environment. …”only fools and mad dogs go out in the midday sun”.
  • Chose the best clothing for your activities: lighter colours and cooling fabrics are wise choices.
  • Sweating is good. People can easily sweat at rates of 1 litre per hour! The body cools off by sweating. Typically as you get fitter, you will sweat sooner and heavier. This fluid loss will need to be replaced!
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s potent rays: sensible, sun proof hats and clothing and a sports sunblock of at least SPF 30.
  • Acclimatize to the warmer weather exercise gradually.

Things can go wrong on hot days! Some signs of heat illness are:

  • Excessive tiredness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Confusion and unusual behaviour
  • Weak pulse
  • Seizures and loss of consciousness

These are clear indicators to stop exercising, find a cooler location, drink more fluid and possibly get medical help (sooner not later).

Dr Simon Mayhew

HealthZone Medical

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