Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tips for warm weather outdoor training

As temperatures warm up, there are health risks involved without outdoor training in the heat and humidity.

Some of the health risks include: 
  • Heat Cramps: Severe & painful cramping of large skeletal muscles due to sodium losses associated with dehydration & increased sweat production.
  • Heat exhaustion: Extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and a weak, rapid pulse are all symptoms caused by the Cardiovascular systems inability to work properly due to dehydration. Treatment includes resting with feet elevated in a cooler environment.
  • Heat Stroke: Life-threatening risk that requires immediate medical attention. Signs & symptoms include: cessation of sweating (though sweat may remain on the body), body temperature greater than 104 F, confusion, disorientation or unconsciousness, and rapid pulse/breathing rate. 
Ways to prevent warm environment induced threatening conditions: 
  • Hydrate: It is important to prevent dehydration especially when exercising in higher temperatures and humidity levels that come in increased temp here in the Midwest. Try to intake 16oz of water 30 minutes before beginning the activity and continue to hydrate every 15 minutes or so during the exercise bout if water is available. Be sure to consume plenty of water following the workout. Ice cold water is the best choice because it cools your body temperature from the inside out.
  • Wear sunscreen: Because choosing to wear less clothing to decrease heat more of the body is exposed to the suns ultra violet radiation. Skin damage from the skin is imperative to avoid. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF, nothing less than 30 and find a waterproof/sweat proof version. Many brands now have a sport version available.
  • Exercise during the cooler times of day (morning or evening). Avoid exercise during the peak temperature times (10am-3pm) if possible. Also choosing trails that provide more shade is advantageous.
  • Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. If possible dry wick material is the best. Dark colors absorb the sunlight and thus create increased body temperature.
  • Lastly, & most importantly, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. When you do not feel right it is because something is wrong. Be smart and stop exercising if you experience any of the symptoms associated with heat cramps, exhaustion, and stroke. It is better to take it easy on your workout and live to workout another day!
Get outside & enjoy the beautiful weather before winter comes & indoor fitness is more appealing. Just be smart & follow these fitness tips from the UIS Fitness & Wellness Team!