The heat can be a major drawback for people looking to work out in the summer. If you're not careful, you can end up suffering from a heat-related health condition such as a heat stroke, heat exhaustion or extreme dehydration, all of which can greatly derail you from your fitness goals.
Whether you're running, playing a pickup game of basketball or going for a power walk, take care when the temperature rises. If you exercise outdoors in hot weather, use these commonsense precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses. Fortunately, we have some tips to help you to safely work out on even the hottest of summer days.
If like me you consider yourself a modern athlete, you also understand the importance and the different nutritional needs compared with the general public. We usually require more calories and macronutrients to maintain strength and energy to compete at our optimum level.
REMEMBER: Athletes may need to work with a sports nutritionist, preferably a registered dietitian, to ensure they consume enough calories and nutrients to maintain their body weight, optimize performance and recovery, and plan a timing strategy that suits their body, sport, and schedule.
It is important to consider the effects that the sun and warmer temperatures can have on your body and your performance, and to be sure to get appropriate hydration. The heat index chart, which shows where the combination of heat and humidity becomes dangerous, is a great resource in determining whether it is a good idea to go outside to exercise.
Activities such as running, cycling, MMA, boxing, swimming, hot yoga, etc, are some of the examples of activities that can result in dehydration if not looked at closely, especially during Summer. It’s simple: if you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform and function at its highest level. You may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms. Whether you love or hate training, running, racing or swimming in the sunny heat, making sure you are always properly hydrated and with your electrolytes replenished is a must.
Pro Tip: Start Slow! To ensure you don’t get injured or become ill, it is recommended that you acclimate yourself to exercising outside in the heat by slowing increasing your time being active outside. Whether you are running or walking outside, you should slow your pace until your body feels used to the warmer weather. Once acclimated, you can slowly increase your speed and the intensity of your workout. It can take up to two weeks for your body to adjust to the warmer temperatures.
According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms such as heavy sweating, nausea and fast or weak pulses could mean heat exhaustion. If your body temperature is over 103 degrees and you start to feel unconscious, then you could be experiencing a heat stroke.
Listen to your body. If it feels like you’re pushing yourself too far, don’t be afraid to stop. Think about having longer rest periods in between sets / exercises to allow your body the cool down time it needs during these conditions, and make sure you do a proper stretch after your workout to help your body and muscles de-heat slowly. Making sure you are always replenishing fluid and electrolytes if you are engaged in a physical activity is a must if you are looking to perform at optimum levels.
Electrolytes play vital roles in our cell functions, nervous system functions and immune system. Just because they are microscopic and trace elements, they should never be neglected. An electrolyte imbalance may cause severe health issues, which can be avoided simply by including electrolyte-rich foods in our daily diet.
Hydra-Guard Premium Sports Drink is my favorite way of replenishing and giving my body exactly what it needs. It is strategically formulated with the 5 major electrolytes to replace the fluids that we lose through sweat at optimum levels. My favorite thing about it is that it's also low-Calorie, low-Sugar, and VERY tasteful even though there is no artificial coloring, flavoring and ingredients!