With summer upon us, stay safe during hot-weather exercise by drinking enough fluids, wearing proper clothing and timing your exercise to avoid the hot weather.
How heat affects your body
Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity will increase your core body temperature. A degree of dehydration decreases your sweat rate, and if the humidity also is high, sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin. Both of these factors push up your body temperature.
If your body temperature gets too high, you may be at risk of heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated.
Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions that can occur with exercise. Heat syncope is a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures. With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 40C, and you may experience confusion, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, fainting, sweating and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 40C and requires immediate medical attention.
If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition and if you don’t feel better within 20 minutes, seek medical advice.
How to avoid heat-related illnesses
There are some simple ways to take care with exercise in hot weather:
Heat-related illnesses are largely preventable. By taking some basic precautions, your exercise routine doesn't have to be sidelined when the heat is on.
This information is brought to you by 2020 Federation University Road National Championship's Race Doctor - Dr. Greg Harris, Ballarat OSM