The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) has given a set of simple suggestions to beat the heat during outdoor workouts this summer.
Acclimatizationis the best strategy for keeping up your exercise routine as the season gets hotter, advises the NATA. According to Brendon McDermott, an athletic trainer at the University of Connecticut, initially, at the beginning of spring and summer, exercisers should do a less intense schedule of their outdoor workout. They can gradually move on to strenuous exercises once they're used to the heat.
Advertisement"Somebody who's in shape will acclimatize more easily," said McDermott. "But if somebody is in shape, it doesn't necessarily make them immune to heat-related problems," he added.
NATA advises proper hydration before and during outside activity. Dark urine is a quick indicator of dehydration. So drink plenty of water and other recommended fluids to beat the heat.
Heat exhaustion can creep in if you are not getting enough rest between bouts of exercise. New research shows that getting enough sleep plays an important role in coping with hot weather. Lack of sleep stresses the body's thermoregulatory systems, making it more difficult for people to handle the heat, according to McDermott.
Heat exhaustion is the most common type of heat-related ailment that bothers exercisers and it occurs when a person loses too much fluid or sodium in the heat. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness and loss of coordination, pale skin; profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting, stomach and intestinal cramps, diarrhea; and persistent muscle cramps.
Exertional heat stroke is the next fatal step if heat exhaustion is left unattended. People with symptoms of heat exhaustion should lie down with their feet up in a cool, shady spot and drink fluids.
The symptoms of exertional heat stroke are similar to those of heat exhaustion, but the person runs a very high body temperature (typically above 104 degrees F). In addition, those who suffer heat stroke show signs of confusion, mental instability, or even irrational behavior and combativeness. The person's heart rate and breathing may speed up, while their blood pressure can drop.
Heat stroke can also occur on its own, without the preceding heat exhaustion. According to NATA's advice, anyone suffering from heat stroke should undergo whole-body cooling immediately, ideally by immersion in cool water, and should receive emergency medical treatment.
McDermott says, "Listening to your body is just as important as paying attention to acclimatization. If you're not feeling good and you feel as though you need a break or rest...do it."