Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Exercising in the heat

SOME countries in the Caribbean continue to enjoy relatively cool weather, but in a few months that will all change as temperatures begin to climb.

The hotter it gets, the more individuals have to be cautious when exercising. And, while many try to work out in the early mornings or late evenings, there are those who take on the heat of the day in hopes of increasing the burn. However, there are things to remember if you’re going to endure the heat while exercising.

On extremely hot and humid days, slow down your regular pace and monitor your heart rate throughout. If it is extremely hot, either postpone your workout until another day or time, or, try to find an environment where it’s cooler. For example, you can take a swim at one of the many beaches around the island instead. If you’re working along with a trainer, exercise physiologist or rehabilitation staff, consult with them to find out what changes can be made in your routine, to adjust to the heat.

Water becomes even more essential when exercising in warmer weather. Drink adequate amounts, 20-30 minutes before the workout and more during the workout. You can drink water every 30 minutes or as needed. If there is no need to use sports drinks, don’t. Stick to water where you can, as sports drinks increase the intake of calories and sodium, which none of us wants. Coconut water is also a great
alternative, as it contains electrolytes.

In the early morning when it’s cool, lots of people choose to wear track suits and similar attire.

However, consider less clothing when the heat starts to creep in. You’re not expected to go running in a bikini or swim trunks, but items of clothing like loose fitting cotton T-shirts and cotton shorts, are sure to keep you cooler and more comfortable. You can also wear a hat with a brim, for some measure of shade. The problem with long-sleeved sweat suits and rubber suits, is that they prevent sweat from evaporating and when that happens, it interferes with the body’s ability to cool itself, which can contribute to dangerously high body temperature levels.

The heart works hard every day to provide enough oxygen and blood throughout the body and when working out, to the exercising muscles. The increased thermal load of warm days, also contributes
to more stress on the heart during activity. To break it down further – the heart beats around 10 bpm (beats per minute) faster for every degree the body’s internal temperature rises.

Add that to having to shunt the blood for cooling and our hearts can get really stressed out as we exercise in the heat. And, a heart under stress, is never a good thing.

If you don’t have the luxury of an air conditioned gym, breezy home set up, or the time to workout in the cooler hours of the day, do what you can to ensure you still get a great workout, while being kind to your body. (JJ)

No comments:

Post a Comment