Physical performance in a hot environment can be compromised in three basic ways. Increases in your body’s core temperature reduce the endurance capacity of the muscles, increase the body’s reliance on carbohydrate for fuel and compromise many aspects of cardiovascular function. As you get used to the heat, you’ll be able to train harder and tolerate the heat better. Here are some helpful tips from the Women’s Sports Medicine Center:
- During your first hot weather workouts, cut back on your exercise duration or intensity. Start low and go slow!
- Protect your skin from UV exposure. Always apply sun block (SPF 30) and lip balm with SPF protection.
- Avoid exercising at the hottest times of the day. Try early morning or evening. Pick a training route or exercise area that provides lots of shade: parks or tree-lined streets. Consider an air-conditioned facility on scorcher days.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Monitor your heart rate and slow down if your pulse is higher than your target zone or if you don’t feel good.
- Train with other people when it’s extra hot. They’ll notice if you’re in trouble, even if you don’t.
- Know the symptoms of heat stress: nausea, dizziness, headache, chilling, muscle cramps, extreme breathlessness and a reduction in sweat rate. Stop exercise, get cool and rehydrate.