Summer is officially here, whether you like it or not. Heat waves and stormy weather are a daily occurrence.
It can get quite uncomfortable, sweaty and sticky training outdoors in the extreme heat. In the same breath, it can also get quite unsafe training outdoors when there are potential storms, because of lightning.
The only “lucky” people are those who have gym memberships and have the option of training in regulated temperatures.
I’m one of those who dabble between the two, but timing is everything.
Now that the sun rises as early as 5am and sets as late as 7pm, when I plan a run or cycle outdoors, I opt to do it at those times. It’s much cooler early morning and late afternoon.
Even with temperatures soaring in the mid 30s, I have seen quite a number of people braving it out and training in the heat of the day, but I must add that heatstroke is a reality and it can be dangerous.
I truly hope that all those who train outdoors are aware of heatstroke symptoms and the dangers and effects of it.
There are many signs and symptoms of heatstroke and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. These include but are not limited to:
Get the person to a medical facility as soon as possible, so start by calling an ambulance. While you wait, you can try to cool the person down by trying a few things like:
1. Remove excess clothing
2. Move them to a cool area
3. Use a portable fan to help them cool down
4. Dab their skin with a cold, wet sponge
5. Put them in an ice-cold bath or a cold shower
Please note, the above cannot be done on children, the elderly or chronically ill patients.
Heatwaves can be lethal and ultimately kill you. Heatstroke can damage the brain and other organs and also result in a stroke, heart condition or breathing problems by diverting blood away from the organs to the skin.
With that said, it is clear that exercising in intense heat can kill you.
If you opt to train outdoors this summer, make sure you drink a lot of cold water to help keep the body temperature as normal as possible and, of course, to avoid dehydration by keeping you hydrated.
For guidance purposes, take a sip every 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your exercise intensity.
Wear exercise clothes that are breathable and able to wick away sweat to help keep you cool.
Add electrolytes to your water bottle because the body’s electrolyte levels drop when you sweat.
Train with a friend so that should either one of you succumb to heat stress, you at least have a friend to help you.
Learn to listen to your body. If it starts feeling odd or different, perhaps take a break from training and allow your body to return to normal. Know when to stop.
The good side about warmer weather is that our bodies generally feel lighter and we are more prone to want to train more.
Remember, 30 minutes is only 2% of your day so you have no excuse. Keep moving.
Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and cofounder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu; Twitter: @letshegom; Facebook: Letshego Zulu
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