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Exercise During Summers- Tips To Make It Easy

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

As the summer months approach, so does the heat rise. Exercising during these sultry months can be a menace, however, can be handled by drinking enough fluids, wearing proper clothing and timing your workout to avoid extreme heat. Whether you are running, playing on the court like basketball or tennis or going for a power walk, taking care when the temperature starts rising is imperative. If you exercise outdoors in hot weather, use certain precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.


How does heat affect our body?

Exercising in hot weather may put extra stress on your body if done inappropriately. You risk inviting serious illness if you do not take proper precautions while exercising in the extreme heat. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase our core body temperature.

To help cool itself, our body sends more blood to circulate through the skin. This leaves less blood for the muscles, which in turn increases our heart rate. Additionally, if the humidity is high, our body faces added stress because sweat does not readily evaporate from our skin. This phenomenon pushes our body temperature even higher.

Get plenty of fluids while you exercise. Wear lightweight, loose clothing. Stop exercising or get yourself out of the hot environment at the first warning signs of heat-related illness.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Heat-related illness

Under normal situations, our skin and blood vessels adjust to the heat as we build our exercise regime. However, our natural cooling systems may fail if exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, there is heavy sweating and the body has a lack of fluid in the system.

The result may be a heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:

  • Heat syncope: In this case, the person gets a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period or standing quickly after sitting for a long period. The person may also faint immediately after exercising and it can occur especially if you immediately stop running and stand after a race or a long run. This is mostly related to a drop in blood pressure due to dehydration.

  First aid-
1. Make the person sit or lie down comfortably with legs elevated slightly.  

2. Drink fluids like ORS, coconut water, lemonade slowly

  • Heat cramps: Also known as exercise-associated muscle cramps, heat cramps are extremely painful muscle contractions that can occur with exercise. This may happen due to excessive sweating and loss of electrolytes. Affected muscles may feel firm as you may feel muscle pain or spasms.  

Management-
1. Stay hydrated and maintain adequate electrolyte balance during, after and before exercise.  

2. It is advisable to speak to a doctor because a person may overdo the intake of electrolytes which can be otherwise harmful.

If you normally run, walk or jog. If you walk, slow your pace. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually pick up the pace and length of your workout.

Be sure to apply sunblock – UVA/UVB, preferably with titanium or zinc dioxide, and reapply at two-hour intervals, even if the labels have sweat-proof and waterproof claims that are hours longer, sunburn may lead to skin cancers and premature ageing of skin.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.
  • Heat Rash: Irritation and rashes on the skin may be seen commonly during summers. Excessive sweating and/or poor hygiene maintenance are the prime causes.

Management-
1. Regular bathing

2. Avoid wearing clothes that have become damp with sweat for long

3. Use powders to keep skin dry

4. If rashes, itching or blisters occur frequently, consult a dermatologist for proper management.

  • Heat exhaustion: With heat exhaustion, your body temperature may rise to 40 degrees celsius along with other problems like headache, vomiting, fainting, sweating and weakness. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke.

    Management- Immediately consult a doctor for management.
  • Heatstroke: When your body goes through heat stroke, the temperature may rise above 40 degrees celsius. You may feel dizziness, headaches, fainting, nausea, vomiting, visual problems and fatigue.  

    Management- You need immediate medical attention to prevent underlying major issues like brain damage, organ failure or even death.
  • Warning signs

    During hot-weather exercise, watch for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness. If you ignore these symptoms, your condition can worsen, resulting in a medical emergency. Some signs that you should have a look out for are:

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

    If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition.

    Measuring your body’s core temperature during these situations is important. However, an oral, ear or forehead thermometer does not provide an accurate temperature reading for this purpose. Cooling your body is important in these cases. The most effective way of rapid cooling is immersing your body in a water tub that is normal to moderately cool. Drink fluids such as water or a sports drink. If you don’t feel better within about 15-20 minutes, seek emergency medical care.

    Also Read: Benefits of Wall Sitting: A Comprehensive Research-Based Guide

    How to avoid heat-related illnesses

    When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

    • Know your fitness level: If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat.
    • Drink plenty of fluids: Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well-hydrated with water. Avoid alcoholic drinks because they can promote fluid loss.
    • Dress appropriately: Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colours, which can absorb heat.
    • Avoid midday sun: Exercise in the early morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors.  

    By taking some basic precautions, your exercise routine does not have to be sidelined during summers. You can stay hydrated and also follow your workout regime effectively.

    Also Read: FUPA Workout: Effective Techniques to Burn Lower Belly Fat

    Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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