has officially arrived amidst a fairly mild and cool spring.
Therefore, it is especially important that you plan and prep
appropriately when exercising in the hot and humid conditions of
Body's Response to Exercising in the Heat
in the heat is an added stress to the body because it is much
more difficult for your body to thermo-regulate itself. Your
body's natural response is to cool itself, so naturally you send
more blood to the skin to help facilitate the cooling process.
However, this takes blood away from the working muscles and vital
organs, which causes your heart rate to increase. You will be
losing more sweat as a result, so it is important to stay
hydrated and maintain electrolyte balance. Humidity further compounds
the stress because your sweat doesn't evaporate, so the cooling
process is hampered causing body temp and heart rates to rise
Illness & Injury
to plan and prepare for exercise in the heat can be detrimental
to your health and performance and may even result in heat
related illness, which can be very serious and possibly life
threatening. The Mayo Clinic outlines three primary heat
illnesses, below, to be aware of.
cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions that
mainly affect the calves and quads in multisport, but may also be
felt in the hamstrings and even abdominal muscles as a result of
poor hydration status and electrolyte imbalance.
exhaustion. Heat exhaustion occurs when body
temperature rises above 103 degrees and may be associated with
nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, and weakness and cold,
clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.
Heatstroke is a condition that occurs when your body temperature
is greater than 104 degrees. Your skin may be hot, but your body
may stop sweating to help cool itself. Typical symptoms are
confusion and irritability. You need immediate medical attention
to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death as heat
stroke can be fatal if left untreated.
while not a direct heat related illness, is seen most often
during the summer months. Sweat is a make-up of fluid and
electrolytes, and as you sweat profusely you may also lose large
volumes of vital electrolytes, especially sodium. It is
important that you replace these electrolytes along with fluid to
help maintain hydration status and essential physiological
processes. If you were to simply replace all sweat loss with
water you could dilute the blood sodium content significantly,
leading to a condition called hyponatremia. Hyponatremia
has detrimental side effects that mimic typical heat related
illnesses and can be fatal. Re: drink sports drink during
Heat Illness & Injury
are many steps you can take to prevent yourself from suffering
from heat illness making sure that you make the most of your
valuable training time. The primary way to mitigate the negative
effects of heat training is to let your body acclimate to
training in the heat.
acclimate to hot environments your body will make noticeable
changes. You will begin to sweat sooner, in larger amounts, and
you may even notice the content of your sweat changing from an
electrolyte/fluid mix to a more fluid based sweat as your body
becomes better at retaining vital electrolytes. You will also
become more efficient at moving blood through your body and to
the skin for cooling purposes.
you will need to reduce training intensity/volume by as much as
30-40% as you begin to acclimate to hot and humid conditions.
However, our bodies are amazing physiological specimens and
respond very quickly to stimuli. The average person will need to
allow for roughly two, maybe even three, weeks of consistent
training in hot conditions to fully acclimate. Over that two to
three week period of time you can gradually increase your volume
and intensity until you are back to your pre-heat training level.
steps you can take to have the best workout possible in hot
your exercise time wisely. Try not to exercise during peak heat
hours if at all possible.
Choose your venue wisely as well. Search for shaded
routes when training outside in the heat.
Wear loose, moisture wicking, light colored clothing
to help pull sweat away from the skin.
HYDRATE. Be prepared and have water, sports drink
and nutrition on hand during workouts.
Replenish electrolytes during longer workouts.
Cool yourself. Some tried and true options are ice
packs, cold towels, and cold water.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sun block
and a hat
Rehydrate and refuel. Begin to rehydrate immediately
post workout and take in nutrition to begin the rebuilding and
in the heat doesn't have to be as challenging as some people make
it. By educating yourself and taking some small precautions, you
can have a phenomenal workout regardless of the conditions! Have
fun, and enjoy your training!
Coach Daniel Scagnelli has been training
in the heat since he discovered training. You can read more about Daniel