Considerations for Exercising in the Heat

Exercising in the heat causes your body’s core temperature to rise. The rise in temperature causes your blood flow to be re-directed, so more blood can be pumped to the skins surface. This leads to breaking out in a sweat, which creates a cooling effect.

The re-direction of blood flow causes less oxygen to be available to our muscles and we see an increase in heart rate.

The major types of heat illness are as follows:

  • Heat rash: Which is caused by inflammation of the sweat glands.
  • Heat cramps: Caused by loss of salt in sweat
  • Heat exhaustion: Caused by exposure to high temperatures and not drinking enough fluids
  • Heat stroke: Caused by a rise in core temperature, that triggers the body’s temperature regulation to fail
  • Exertional heat stroke: Caused by a rise in core temperature precipitated by intense or prolonged exercise in hot weather

When exercising over summer, it is crucial to take into consideration many factors to allow yourself to exercise safely and stay healthy. If you suffer from a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease or cancer you should take extra caution when exercising in hot weather. Some chronic illnesses can affect your blood vessels, or the heart muscles may be too weak to respond to the extra demands of the heat.

Some medications can also interfere with the body’s heat regulation, and extra care should be taken when exercising and training in the heat. Modifications to your training may need to be made, along with a consulting your doctor about any medications that may cause heat-related illness from exercise.

Considerations should also be made in relation to your own health status and physical condition, and modifications should be made to exercise intensity and training schedules.

The last consideration is water consumption, which is vital when exercising in the heat.
Staying hydrated is a key, and it’s also important not to over hydrate.

Staying alert to these things when exercising in the heat will ensure your health and safety and assist in preventing any heat-related injuries or illnesses.