Exercising in hot weather

Exercise and hot weather is a deadly combination. Here are some strategies that will allow you to exercise safely in the hot and humid temperatures this summer:

Hydration: The most common mistake people make when exercising in hot weather is not drinking enough water. Staying hydrated is very important especially during the hot months of summer. Yet it is something that many of us tend to overlook. By the time the sensation of thirst sets in, our bodies are already at a 1% dehydrated state – that is we have already lost 1% of our body weight. Research has shown that dehydration states of 2% of body weight loss or greater can negatively impact exercise performance and also increase the potential for heat illnesses like heat cramps and heat strokes. To stay properly hydrated, aim to consume about two glasses of water approximately 2-3 hours prior to the start of your exercise (unless it is early in the morning). Once you begin your workout session, aim to consume about 1 glass of water every 15-20 minutes during exercise.

Exercise: Physical training and heat acclimatization increases your blood volume, helping to regulate body temperature more effectively. The acclimatization process takes about 7 to 14 days of repeated heat exposure. Exercise at a reduced intensity during this period, and once your body gets used to the heat, you can return to your regular intensity. However, you must always continue to drink fluids before, during and after exercise.

Exercise Intensity: Reduce the intensity of your workout, especially the first few times you are exposed to higher temperatures. Let your body get used to the heat slowly.

Clothing: Your clothing should be lightweight, loose fitting, light coloured to reflect the sun’s rays, and of a material that absorbs water, such as cotton.

Rest: Know when to say “no” to exercise. Using common sense is your best bet for preventing heat stress when Mother Nature turns up the heat. Listen to your body!

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