Keeping cool: Heat and Exercise

Houston temperatures have been unrelentingly hot lately. When the thermometer says 92 but the heat index is 106, you know you’re in for a scorcher. Hot weather puts extra stress on your body, so take care when exercising in the heat or you could risk serious illness.

Pay attention to warning signs. Listen to your body. The following signs and symptoms point right to heat-related illness. If you ignore these signs, your condition can get much worse, and result in the need for medical treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of heat related illness include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Visual problems

The development of any of these symptoms means you need to lower your body temperature and hydrate immediately. Get out of the heat, remove extra clothing or sports gear, or wet yourself down with cool water. If possible, have someone stay with you to help monitor your condition.

Working out in the heat is no joke. Try to avoid heat related illness where you can. Keep an eye on the temperature. Take time to acclimate yourself when you first start working out in the heat. Drink plenty of fluids, either sports drinks or water. Above all, know your fitness level. If you are new to a workout regimen, be extra cautious in the heat. You may have a lower tolerance. It’s okay to reduce your exercise intensity and take breaks.

Happy sweating!



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