We all know it can become extremely hot in Adelaide during Summer! If you’d like to maintain your fitness routine all year round and exercise in the warm weather, it’s important to understand what happens to your body when you exercise in the heat. In this blog, we will explain how you can prevent your body from overheating.
How does our body control its temperature?
Our bodies attempt to control their temperature through a process called thermoregulation. In terms of reducing heat, this process involves the dilation and increase of blood flow to the little blood vessels in the capillaries. When this occurs, our body is trying to reduce the amount of heat that we’re holding in our core to a place where it can be transferred out of our body. This causes the sweating process.
What is heatstroke?
When it’s a warm day and you’ve been exercising in the heat, the first thing that we’re going to notice is that the body becomes warm and we start sweating. If we’ve been exercising for a long period of time but stop sweating, this is a sign that the body is at high risk of overheating and getting heatstroke.
You will suffer from heatstroke if the body begins to overheat. This is usually the result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. Heatstroke occurs if the body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C), you are more likely to suffer from heatstroke during the summer months.
If someone nearby is suffering from heatstroke, it is important to act quickly. This is because heatstroke can damage the brain heart, kidneys and muscles. If left unattended, this can quickly become worse.
The effects of heatstroke
When we’re exercising in the heat, not only are we going to be sweating, we also have an increase in temperature. As we reach a critical point, the temperature will increase to a level where the brain says, “I’m running out of sweat and I’m running out of fluid. I don’t have enough for the muscles or the heart and I don’t have enough for the brain.” That’s when your performance begins to drop heavily.
The effects of heat stroke include:
- A high body temperature, a core body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
- Altered mental state or behavior which includes symptoms such as confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma.
- Heatstroke is the result of being over exposed to the hot weather and people suffering from heatstroke will notice that their skin feels hot and dry when touched.
- Heatstroke can also be the result of strenuous exercise, after which your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
- Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
- You may feel nauseous or sick to your stomach and vomit.
- A throbbing head and headache.
- Breathing may become rapid and shallow and your heart may begin to race.
- Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to cool your body down.
Being aware of heat stroke when we exercise
To prevent heat stroke from occurring is to identify it when it’s happening. One of the first signs of heatstroke can be fainting and the core body temperature rising to above 104 degrees fahrenheit. As mentioned above, some of the most obvious signs of heatstroke are feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach. People may also feel like vomiting and experience a throbbing headache.
How to prevent heat stroke from occurring when we exercise?
If you’re doing a workout on a very hot day, here are some tips that will help to prevent heatstroke.
Carry a cool water bottle when exercising.
Continue to drink whilst you exercise, as a general guideline it is recommended that you drink half a liter of water 2 to 3 hours before exercising and another 200 milliliters during your warm-up (or 20 to 30 minutes before exercising). After this, it is advised that you drink around half a liter every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise, and 200 milliliters of water 30 minutes after you begin exercising.
Make sure that you keep the sun off your skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and keep your collar up.
Know your limitations and avoid choosing an incredibly hot day to take part in a challenging work out.
Be cautious in a hot environment and know when it’s too hot to exercise
To prevent the onset of heatstroke, drink plenty of water or sports drinks. Other things you can do to try to reduce the effects of the heat on your body are:
- Utilise accessories such as hats to reduce the amount of heat that the body absorbs
- Carry a towel or sweatband to mop the sweat off of your body
- Maintain the intake of fluids whilst exercising
- Use ice packs to keep cool
Our Physios are able to provide additional advice as to how you can effectively maintain and improve your fitness routine during the warmer months. Find your nearest Core Physio practice today.