ShFIT Talk #18 - Working Out in the Summer 🌞
Summer is officially here and so is the heat!
Did you know that when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C) you are in the heat stroke warning zone?
Did you know that athletes can lose 2-8% of their body weight during a H.I.I.T workout through loss of fluid leading to dehydration if the fluids are not replaced.
Its official summer is here and so is the heat! I don’t know about you, but temperatures where I live are pushing the 90s easily!
Even though the gyms are slowly opening back up many people are still a little cautious about going back. Because of this, many people have turned to outdoor fitness to help them stay active.
When we exercise outdoors in the heat, you put extra stress on your body, so it is important to take it slow! Make sure that you give your body time to adjust to the warm weather! When you combine the temperature, humidity and the exercise you cause your core body temperature to spike.
You can even increase your risk of heat related illnesses if you are not cautious including:
Heat Syncope Collapse
According to John Hopkins Medicine heat exhaustion is a common illness during the summer in the US. It is especially common among football players and military recruits in basic training. But they are just the most common, people over 65 and young children are also at high risk as well as women (booo), people with light skin, and people who grew up in cooler temperatures. If you grew up in NY you are going to react differently to the heat then someone who grew up in S. FL.
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body can’t get read of the extra heat being made during exercise. If you start to feel light headed, nausea, fainting, clammy skin, vomiting, headache, fatigue or muscle pains and spasm, it is important to stop, get out of the heat and hydrate with water or a sports drink ASAP. These are all signs of a heat related illness. Sometimes you may even need to remove your clothing and cool down with some cool water or ice pack on your neck or forehead. If you do not feel better in about 20 min, seek medical attention.
Many things can play a role in making it harder for your body to dump the extra heat. Being out of shape, if you are sick or have an infection, if you are dehydrated or have been drinking alcohol before you workout, being overweight or having a chronic illness or just not being used to the heat. It is important to know that certain medications and certain medical conditions can affect it.
There are a number of things you can do to help avoid heat related illnesses while still getting outdoors and working out!
Try doing your outdoor activities either early in the mornings or in the evenings so you can avoid the mid-day heat when the UVs and temperatures are at their highest. The temperature is usually cooler in the mornings so your risk is less.
Make sure you check the temperature before you head out for your workout. If you live somewhere like S. FL there are days that it is 96 and humid AF. Those are the days you may one to move your outdoor workout indoors.
Take it slow! Give your body time to acclimate to the weather. When we workout indoors we have the benefit of AC to help regulate our body temperature, but when we head out, our body needs time to adapt. According to the Mayo Clinic it takes about 1-2 weeks for your body to adapt. So take it slow. Start off only doing a few days of exercise outside and slowly work up from there. If you are new to this fitness journey, don’t push yourself with a crazy H.I.I.T workout or something like that. Know your fitness level, listen to your body, and start...slow!
Drink your water! Make sure you stay hydrated! Not only are you going to be sweating more, but staying hydrated will help keep your core body temperature regulated. Again, if you experience headaches, dizziness or muscle cramping, STOP, hydrate and recover.
Dress Appropriately. You are not in an air conditioned gym so wearing something like a sweat belt or jacket is going to cause you to dehydrate faster! Wear light loose breathable clothing and a visor or hat to protect your face if possible.
Wear Sun Screen. This is something my husband has to remind me to do, but it is so important. Sunscreen helps to protect your skin and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Reach for that waterproof sunscreen so you don’t just sweat it all off in the first 15 min.
Reminder: Heat elevates with your heart rate, so if you are outside working out, remember that the higher heart rate is OK, even if you are just doing your normal thing!