With the recent heat wave we are experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest I thought it would be good to revisit helpful tactics for continuing to exercise in excessive temperatures. Our area is host to many trails, rivers, and mountains that draw outdoor enthusiasts, particularly when the sun is shining. But when it comes to hot humid days that are rarely experienced in the area special precautions should be taken.
Heat is a stressor and in extreme conditions can cause serious health issues. If you are planning to exercise in the heat make sure that you have been cleared by your health care professional particularly in the presence of any preexisting health conditions. The act of exercising and the ambient air temperature both contribute to increasing the core body temperature. Our bodies have the ability to control the core temperature precisely by circulating blood away from the core and towards our skin so we can disperse the heat and the production of sweat. As the blood is pulled away from our muscles towards the skin surface our heart rate increases as our bodies have to work harder to perform.
Depending on the severity of the conditions heat related illness can present in various degrees and may present accordingly
Hydration is the key to maintaining an exercise regime in hot weather. Remember though, that you need to drink fluid prior to feeling thirsty or experience the signs and symptoms of heat related illness. I recommend starting the hydration process the day before exercising in hot weather. One method of checking hydration levels is the pee test. You are usually well hydrated if you pass a good amount of very light yellow or clear urine a couple of times before going to bed.
Keeping your body hydrated during exercise helps replace the water lost from sweating and prevents fatigue and poor physical performance. Also, your thirst is usually satisfied before your body's water supply is fully replaced. This means that during workouts you should drink water even if you don't feel thirsty.
How much is enough? The Texas Heart institute recommends the following:
For workouts of less than 1-1/2 hours, you should:
Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water or a sports drink just after exercise.
Other ways to keep cool include wearing loose fitting, light colored clothing that wicks away the moisture and has a built in ultraviolet rating to ward off the harmful effects of prolonged exposure to sunshine. Sunlight is absolutely vital to the health of the body (Vitamin D production!) but it is the effects of sunburn that become damaging to skin. The material you wear needs to resist the sun’s rays in order to help delay the onset of sunburn. A lot of clothing is labelled with a protection factor rating. These are similar but not identical to the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) ratings awarded to sunscreens.
No internationally-recognized measurement standard has been agreed upon for clothing. However, the Australian Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) has come to the forefront. There is also a British Clothing Protection Factor (CPF). Both tests use a spectrophotometer to measure a fabric’s ability to block ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UPF, CPF and SPF ratings are not directly comparable. For example, SPF only measures protection from UVB rays, whereas UPF also takes UVA rays into account.
10 - Less than 10 low (inadequate for UK summer)
20 high protection 10-19 medium
30 & 40 v. high protection 20-29 high
50 max. protection 30+ very high
A garment with a UPF rating of 50 means that 1/50th of the UV radiation falling on the surface is able to pass through. This is equivalent to 98% protection from UVR. - See more at: http://theactiveguide.com/articles/2011/04/what-to-wear-when-active-in-hot-weather.aspx#sthash.vz9tRIWF.dpuf
The time of day for exercise can play a big part in avoiding heat related health issues too. Exercising in the early morning or later evening can cut the temperatures dramatically and allow you to exercise safely. If unable to change the time of your workout, consider moving it indoors, exercising less intensely and/or for a shorter duration.
Movement is life and we need to perform some type of exercise daily to maintain a healthy state. Being smart about exercise will allow us to enjoy the benefits without risking serious heat related health illness
Before starting any exercise program, make sure your body is ready for the increase in activity by getting checked by a professional. If you have any questions regarding implementing an exercise routine in your daily life give us a call at the Art of Chiropractic and we will help you get started…
Dr. Doug Davies has been practicing the art of chiropractic for over 10 years and brings his skills to the downtown Gresham, OR area focusing on achieving and maintaining the innate lifestyle...