There is nothing like getting a great workout in the great outdoors! But there is the threat of heat exhaustion if you are not careful.
If you are currently living in South Jersey…it’s HOT! Throughout the summer months it can be downright hot and sticky. The humidity alone will have you running towards the nearest air-conditioned building. If you want to take your workouts outside, avoiding heat exhaustion could be a challenge.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
The Mayo Clinic defines heat exhaustion as a condition which may include profuse sweating along with a rapid pulse. These symptoms are from your body overheating. Heat exhaustion is sandwiched in between heatstroke (which is the most severe ) and heat cramps (being the mildest) of the three heat -related syndromes.
Exposure to high temperatures especially when combined with high humidity and strenuous activity can cause heat exhaustion. If heat exhaustion is not treated promptly, it can lead to heat stroke which is a life-threatening condition. The best news is…is heat exhaustion is preventable!
How Do I Know If I Have Heat Exhaustion?
Possible signs and symptoms may include:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure when standing up
- Cool, moist skin with goosebumps while in the heat
How To Prevent Heat Exhaustion While Exercising Outside
Acclimating your body and knowing the warning signs of heat exhaustion can protect you from fatigue and heat related injuries and illnesses in hot weather.
Water, water, water
You should be fully hydrated before your outdoors workout. Pre-hydration will help control body temperature and help increase blood plasma volume to maintain cardiac output.
A good indication of your hydration levels is your urine color. Your urine should be clear or pretty close to it (like pale lemonade color). If your urine is dark yellow, you are very dehydrated.
How Much Water to Drink?
During 60 minute workouts, you should continue to drink water about every 15 minutes.
- Before a workout: Drink 16oz two hours before working out.
- During a workout: Drink about 8 oz of water every 15-20 minutes, aim to match your sweat loss.
- After a workout: Drink 1 Liter per kilogram of weight lost during your workout.
Acclimate Yourself To Your Climate
Start off slow (especially if you are starting your outdoor workout program in the summer months). Slowly, adapting your body to hot and humid environments will help adjust and decrease the stress on your body.
It will take about 3-5 days for cardiovascular adaptations to take place. Complete acclimation doesn’t occur until about 2 weeks.
So take 2 weeks to slowly introduce your body to your outdoor workouts. This will help you get the most out of your workouts and will keep your body happy 😉
Helpful Hints for Heat Exhaustion Prevention
1. If you are new to working out, you might want to start indoors so you can increase your fitness capacity before taking your workouts outdoors.
2. Exercise at lower intensities when you first go outside.
3. Perform higher intensity workouts during the cooler hours of the day (early morning and late evening).
4. If you have to train during the hottest part of the day, try to stay in the shade and wear appropriate fitness clothing to help you stay cooler and bring plenty of water.
5. Monitor your hydration levels by weighing yourself before and after your workouts. If you weigh 150 lbs before your workout and after your workout you weigh 147 lbs, you will need to replace your lost weight with water to ensure you are hydrated.
Since 2006, Nicole Simonin has been a Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Shape It Up, LLC. Nicole is recognized for her well-rounded approach to fitness. Through private and online personal training, Nicole motivates, educates and inspires women to get fit and healthy. Her passion is to empower busy women to not only get fit but to be fierce in life and have no limits as to what can be accomplished. Click here to work with Nicole as your personal trainer.