Keep Cool this Summer When Exercising in the Heat
Summer is almost here and the temperatures in Jacksonville are already beginning to reach record-breaking numbers. Exercising on a regular basis helps bariatric surgery patients stay in shape and on track with weight loss efforts.
Unfortunately, exercising in the Florida heat can really make your workouts uncomfortable and ultimately inhibit your performance. Though many people take shelter from the heat during summer months inside the gym, others still work out in the great outdoors.
If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, your risk of illness can significantly increase.
Your Body in the Heat
When you exercise in the heat, your body is forced to circulate blood out to your skin in an effort to cool itself. However, this takes vital, oxygen-delivering blood away from your working muscles and also lowers the amount of blood your heart can pump with each beat. Not to mention, you’re already losing blood volume through the fluid in your sweat which further increases the demand on your already-overworked heart.
Your heart rate begins to rise uncomfortably as your heart is forced to work harder and harder. Soon after, breathing may become difficult, your blood pressure can drop and your core temperature can rise. Ultimately, your brain will send a message to your body to stop.
Exercising in the heat can have negative health effects, especially during the hotter parts of the day. It’s best to exercise earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not as strong. Even if you do exercise during the cooler part of the day, it can still be relatively warm out.
Here are some tips on how to stay cool during exercise.
Heat Acclimation – Heat acclimation is a process in which you train your body to produce more blood. As summer approaches, you can acclimated yourself to the higher temperature by gradually exposing yourself to the heat. Start off by exercising for only 10 to 20 minutes in the early morning and late evening. Each day, add only a few minutes on to the physical activity at hand as your body gets used to the warmer temperatures. If you combine this practice with staying drinking plenty of fluids, your body will eventually increase its blood volume helping you to stay cool.
Keep Core Temperature Cool – To stay cool when exercising in the heat, one of the best things you can do is try to keep your core temperature cool. Here are some simple ways to keep a cool core temperature:
- Invest in breathable exercise clothing that helps to wick away sweat. Just wearing cotton won’t suffice in the Florida sun—special synthetic fabrics do a better job at cooling your body.
- Drink water when you feel thirsty—don’t wait it out. Drinking plenty of water is an easy way to maintain blood volume that is necessary for body cooling. Carry a water bottle with you at all times when exercising in the heat.
- Exercise in the shade as much as possible. Don’t walk or run in the direct sun if you can avoid it. Find shelter from the sun’s heat under trees, walkways or behind buildings. Direct exposure to the sun can greatly increase your body temperature.
Exercising in the heat comes with great responsibility. Even if you’re exercising in the early morning or late evening you should always be prepared. It may not be advised for some patients to exercise in the heat, so speak with your bariatric surgeon before exercising in hot temperatures.