Exercising in the Heat Can Get You in Trouble
Summer is just a few weeks away, and temperatures are heating up! It’s important to understand what’s happening to your body when it gets overheated and how to prevent it from happening.
If you are running, hiking, or being active outside in the sunshine, pay attention to your body
and look for warning signs of these potentially dangerous heat-related illnesses:
• Heat cramps – painful muscle contractions
• Heat syncope – lightheadedness or fainting
• Heat exhaustion – if your body temp rises to 104 F (40 C), you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, and cold, clammy skin
• Heatstroke – life-threatening condition when your body is hotter than 104 F. You will experience similar symptoms to heat exhaustion, but you also may stop sweating. You need to get medical attention right away in this instance to prevent serious complications.
If you notice any symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, dizziness, confusion, low blood pressure or visual problems, you need to stop exercising and get out of the sun as soon as possible! Fan your body, remove any extra clothing or equipment, and take a break in the shade. Other suggestions are to get some cool water on your neck and forehead, take a cold shower and drink lots and lots of fluids.
To PREVENT your body from overheating while exercising outdoors, wear lightweight, non-cotton clothing to help your sweat evaporate (which is your body’s natural way of cooling you down), exercise in the morning or evening rather than mid-afternoon, reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks. You may also want to wear a hat, visor or wet bandana around your neck. Consider drinking a sports drink to replenish the sodium, chloride and potassium you lost through sweating and of course, drink lots and lots of water.
Have fun in the sun but also stay safe out there!