Hot-weather exercise tips
June 24, 2003
Boy, what a hot start to summer! And it was a hot three weeks for the workout crowd.
Adjusting your exercise capability to heat conditions takes time, something you should consider. Even if you exercise in an air-conditioned environment, your body’s core temperature will still be elevated. And it isn’t safe to elevate your pulse and body temperature with a vigorous workout in high heat conditions.
When you are exercising in an indoor program and the room temperature reaches 75 degrees, you should lower the intensity of your workout. If the exercise room contains a lot of hot bodies, remember that each person raises the temperature of the room, and the air from hot bodies will collect at head level and restrict breathing. The dissipation of body heat takes time, so floor work and cool down time should be longer.
There are three things to remember about exercise when the temperature is close to 100.
n Continuously drink a lot of cold water.
n Exercise in an area where the air moves around you, and stay out of the sun,
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n Do your calisthenics or jogging early in the day before it hits 70 or wait until evening.
Do your jogging in a swimming pool for a lot cooler workout. The resistance of the water on your legs will add to your workout, and you may find muscles you didn’t know you had.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Start your workout well hydrated. You can lose more than two cups of water with each hour of an indoor workout. Outdoors, it can be more, depending on terrain, humidity and temperature.
The dry air in Nevada helps to cool your body while you exercise. If the air is wet (or high in humidity), as we’ve seen lately, the sweat will stay on your body and cooling will be reduced. Then your internal temperature could rise and add to the possibility of heat stroke.
Carry a spray bottle of cold water with you when you work out. Use it, especially on your head, a real hot spot. A fine mist sprayed all over the body works wonders.
Be especially aware of lightheadedness, dizziness, leg cramps, unusual shortness of breath and general discomfort. All of these symptoms may be the beginning of heat stroke.
Take the time to adjust your body to a new climate. Two weeks is considered the minimum time for acclimation to different workout conditions — wet or dry heat, high altitude, etc. The keys to hot-weather exercise are moderation, maintenance and plenty of water.
Jerry Vance is certified by the American Council on Exercise and teaches fitness at the Carson City Community Center and Healthsmart.