How to exercise when it’s really hot

For people in many parts of the United States – as in many parts of the world – the phrase “record heat” has become a frequent part of recent forecasts. While that doesn’t mean you have to move your favorite outdoor workout into the gym, you may need to do it a little differently. Here’s what experts recommend for staying safe and active outdoors.

How is it too hot to exercise outside?

There is no exact temperature at which it becomes unsafe to exercise. It depends on individual factors, according to Melissa Kendter, a personal trainer, running coach, and functional training specialist in Perkasie, Pa.

“This depends on how your body responds to heat, your fitness level, your age, and any underlying conditions you may have such as cardiovascular disease or asthma,” she said. “For example, if you have trouble breathing when it’s humid, your definition of ‘too hot’ would be a lower temperature than someone who feels fine.”

Read more: How to cool down when it’s really hot

Your personal upper temperature threshold may change as you acclimate through weeks of outdoor exercise. For example, in the early summer, Kendter says she had to scale down her marathon training to accommodate the higher temperatures and humidity. But similar temperatures in late summer are usually not a problem as she is better equipped to deal with the heat. She suggests about two to four weeks of slower, less intense exercise for your body to adapt.

What is the best exercise to do outside?

If you want to feel cool and still enjoy the outdoors, it’s hard to beat swimming Kendter speaks as an activity, especially in a cool pool, lake, or ocean. In addition, any exercise you can do slowly and mindfully very suitable for hot sunny days, including yogajogging at an easy pace, cycling leisurely or Long walk in a shady forest. No matter what you choose, make sure to move slower than you do in other seasons.

“Exercising in the heat is more about maintaining consistency than improving your performance,” she adds. “Your body will have to work harder for the heat, so now is not the time to push yourself.” Exercising in the early morning or early evening is another good way to stay safe.

Read more: A hotter world means more disease outbreaks in our future

“In many cases, heat exhaustion is very preventable,” says Dr. Casey Batten, director of primary care sports medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. “The main strategy if you’re going to exercise outdoors is to be prepared, and that means dressing properly, exercising when it’s cooler, and staying hydrated.”

Here are other tips that Kendter and other experts recommend:

  • Wear lightweight, sweat-wicking clothing for better airflow
  • Drink water before exerciseand bring water to drink during and after exercise
  • If you are running or cycling, look for shaded routes or do HIIT exercises in a shaded area
  • Wear a hat, even when you’re under a tree
  • Have a plan to move indoors if temperature and humidity start to matter

Another important recommendation: Pay attention to how you’re feeling so you can spot any heat-related problems as soon as they start.

What are the warning signs of canker sores?

Canker sores can range from mild to severe. At the lower end of that spectrum are mild discomforts like rashes or cramps, and at the other end are heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Usually, when the body begins to regulate temperature, heat exhaustion occurs first; If it is not addressed quickly, it becomes a more dangerous form of canker sores, heatstroke.

For those who exercise outdoors, the most common problem is heat exhaustion, a condition in which your body gets too hot from exposure to high heat and humidity, says Dr. Ali Mesiwala, a neurosurgeon. and sports expert at the DISC Sports & Spine Center in Newport Beach, Calif. Your body is normally effective at dealing with temperature fluctuations, but when it comes to heat exhaustion, it tells it it’s having a hard time adjusting, he says.

Read more: Why do doctors prescribe natural walking?

For example, you shiver when it’s too cold, that’s your body’s way of generating extra warmth. With heat, you tend to sweat more—And as that mixture of water and electrolytes dries, evaporation will cause you to cool down. Especially if it’s very moist, this won’t work either because you’re not drying fast enough, says Mesiwala.

“In that case, your body may continue to sweat, but it has no effect on regulating your body temperature, and that is when the symptoms of heat exhaustion can become very pronounced. ,” he added. Those symptoms may include sudden fatigue or weakness; thirst does not improve with hydration; cold, rough skin; headache; dizziness or lightheadedness; fast heartbeat or pulse; and upset or confused.

If you don’t address heat exhaustion right away — and especially if you continue to exercise — it can lead to a more threatening heat stroke, says Mesiwala. When someone has heatstroke, the skin becomes dry and hot, and they stop sweating. They may also have a significant spike in temperature and a faster heart beat. There will also be an increased risk of more serious symptoms such as vomiting, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, and seizures.

What should you do if you start to overheat?

The signs of heat stroke need urgent attention, so if it happens to you or someone else, call 911 or go to the emergency room. If it’s heat exhaustion, you can take steps to get your body temperature back to normal.

First, stop exercising. Go to a cool, shaded area — go inside air-conditioned space is best — and drink cool water or sports drinks in frequent sips. Mesiwala also suggests taking off your shoes and socks and splashing cold water on your face and neck.

Batten says preventing heat-related illnesses should be a priority for those who want to exercise outside in the heat. “Then you can enjoy your workout instead of putting your health at risk.”

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