How to Exercise in the Heat| August 17, 2021
Your body is composed of cellular structures. It contains several types of defense mechanisms to respond to different kinds of stresses. Like any other mechanical body, a human body needs regular maintenance for detoxification and efficient working.
Exercise is an activity that requires a physical effort of the body to maintain and improve overall health. However, no matter your age, exercise is necessary to maintain a working hemostatic mechanism inside your body. It is like preparing your body to cope with excessive external as well as internal stresses.
Most of the time, we focus on our external beauty, but exercise or physical activity will enhance our internal strength and beauty. Exercising regularly makes physiological adaptations that allow the heart and lungs to function better with less effort. In short, exercise improves the body's ability to utilize energy.
How Does Exercise Affect Your Body?
As already mentioned, almost all the mechanisms are affected and adapt themselves when you begin exercising regularly. A brief description is given ahead,
- Muscles: Working out creates small tears in muscles, which makes them grow stronger while healing.
- The Heart: Exercise increases the demand of the body. Your heart must work at a greater pace to meet this increased demand. Regular exercise adapts the heart to maintain a lower resting heart rate while providing increased oxygenated blood to the cells.
- Brain: Exercise reduces stress, boosts memory, and prevents the decline of cognitive/psychological function. Exercise is an activity that makes you active.1
- Lung: Exercise enhances lung compliance. Thus, increasing the supply of oxygenated blood to the body.
Body's responses to Exercise in Hot Environment
Normally, when you exercise, your core (deep body) temperature increases. You might be thinking, what happens to this generated heat? It is naturally eliminated from the body by one of the mechanisms of conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation.
When you exercise continuously in a hot or humid environment, your body heats up internally, but it can't remove excess heat out into the atmosphere because of the low-temperature gradient. This increases stresses on your body, which, if continued, may cause hyperthermia and heat injury. The core temperature rises, and the body increases sweating, which causes fluid loss, thus increasing the risk for dehydration.2
For prevention, practicing in a similar environment is necessary. When you practice or train your body in a hot climate, but at lower pace/intensities, your body's physiological responses adapt to the atmospheric conditions and minimize hemostatic disturbances. This phenomenon is called heat acclimatization, which is very important to prevent and reduce the likelihood of heat injury. One of the important factors responsible for heat accommodation is the formation of heat shock proteins.
Those individuals who practice in colder climatic conditions but must perform the exercise in warmer areas are at a greater risk of developing heat exhaustion or injury.
How to Exercise in Heat/Summer Season?
Now that the normal physiology of exercising in different environments is evident let us move ahead towards the main topic that "What steps can you take to avoid a heat injury or heat exhaustion?"
1. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated means consuming enough fluid to prevent dehydration. Daily consumption depends on and varies according to age, body weight, level of physical activity, and gender.
- On average, a male should take 3.7 liters of fluid, and a female should consume about 2.7 liters per day.3
- You are supposed to have appropriate levels of essential electrolytes in your daily fluid regimen. Potassium and sodium are reported to be very important to maintain hemostasis.
- Sports drinks have been considered superior to water for fluid replacement after exercise.
- According to research, if you are involved in an activity for more than 60 minutes, you should keep yourself hydrated by having small sips of water/fluid during the rest intervals.4
- It would be best to hydrate yourself while working out by drinking 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
2. Track your Hydration Levels
While exercising in the heat, it is crucial to track the level of your hydration status to prevent excessive heating. So, how is it possible to track down your hydration status? You can do it by noticing your urine color. If it's darker, you need to hydrate well. If it's lighter or pale, then it is a sign that you are well hydrated.
You should be aware of the side effects of medications if you are taking any. Some medicines may darken the color of urine and lead to misinterpretation of hydration levels. The fluid lost during exercise may also be monitored by weighing yourself before and immediately after the workout. For rehydration following training, you should ingest fluids approximately equal to 150% of the weight loss.
3. Wear Lighter Clothing
Clothing plays an important role in heat/ temperature regulation. Darker colors absorb heat, so they should be avoided, while lighter and brighter color clothing is highly appreciated to be worn during exercise in hot summers. These colors reflect more heat rather than absorbing thus preventing an excessive rise in core temperature. Additionally, you should wear clothes of lighter material to allow adequate heat loss. Lighter materials are highly appreciated for exercise clothing. Expose maximum surface area of your skin for sufficient heat loss.
4. Effective Timing for Practice/Exercise
Exercise during the coolest part of the day. It will prevent an excessive rise in core temperature by providing an effective temperature gradient. Schedule your training programs according to the timing of practice. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is considered the hottest time of the day so schedule your session accordingly.
5. Add Warm-up and Cooldown in your Routine
Adding warm-up before the workout session prepares your energy stores to function accordingly. It slowly increases the core temperature preventing immediate fluctuations. A cool-down regimen has similar effects. Cooling down at a speed and intensity lower than the actual workout relaxes the body and directs the circulation centrally while preventing its pooling in peripheries. It also prevents arrhythmias and other cardiovascular complications. The warm-up and cooldown period should be between 5 and 10 minutes.5
6. Add Water Exercises to your Routine
Water activities will help maintain your internal body temperature cooler compared to land activities. These activities decrease the risk of heat exhaustion or heat injury. These activities include pool activities. If you are not willing to include pool activities in your exercise regimen, you can substitute it with running on a runny day. This may surprise most of our readers, right? Running doesn't mean running in lightning or heavy rain but mild, rainy weather.6
7. Practice Indoors
The indoor temperature is relatively low as compared to outdoors. So, prefer to practice indoors as it won't cost as much energy as required in outdoor games or sports. Exercising indoors in heat is one of the important factors that can prevent heat injury.
8. Take Adequate Rest Intervals (Interval Training)
Taking adequate rest intervals between High-intensity aerobic training programs restores the energy stores and prevents the body from collapsing. This increases the capacity of your body to sustain increased stresses for prolong periods without exhaustion. These cooldown intervals should remove the athlete from sunny to a shady area for replenishment of energy stores.
9. Reduce the Workout Intensity
It is normal for your body to not maintain a regular activity level in hot or humid environments. So, do not hesitate to reduce the usual intensity of exercise or slow the pace down. Your body is like any machine. If you do not provide the optimum conditions, it will slow down. So let it be. It is normal.7
- Do not Forget to Wear Sunscreen
Yes! You read it right. You must protect your body from the sun as much as you can. Ultraviolet A/B protection is essential preferably with zinc dioxide. You should be applying your sunblock every 2 hours. This will effectively prevent sunburns, ultimately reducing the risk of premature skin aging and dermatological cancers. You can protect yourselves from the sun by wearing wide-brimmed hats.
11. You Should Know Your Limits
While working out, it is very important to know and immediately stop the workout if any of the following warning signs arise:
- Sudden chest pain.
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Drop in the blood pressure while increasing exercise intensity.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Paling of skin
- Sudden exaggeration of heart rate/ heartbeat.
- Syncope or feeling of sickness
12. You should be aware of Heatstroke Symptoms
If you are an athlete or exercise regularly, you should educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of heatstroke. For your ease, we have enlisted the main symptoms of heatstroke:
- Pyrexia or fever
- Hot and dry skin without sweat
- Rapid pulse
- Muscle cramps
- Behavioral changes
- Death, if untreated.8
Signs of heat exhaustion:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Cool, moist skin
- Dark urine
- Pulse may be slow and weak
For prevention, move to a shady area and have some cool drinks. Coffee or alcohol should be avoided, and ice therapy is encouraged for immediate results.
If an individual develops these signs, the immediate intervention is to immediately terminate the exercise and cool the body down. This cooling may be done by directly immersing the body in cool water.
Cold fluids along with electrolytes may also be provided to compensate for the fluid losses.
13. Progress Gradually
While exercising in the heat, take care to move gradually and cautiously. Initiate your exercise at a slow pace. Progress slowly and cautiously and if any unusual sign is felt, take breaks to allow your body to be acclimatized accordingly.
Magnesium is one of the chief minerals participating in enzymatic reactions in your body. Out of many functions, it helps maintain effective muscle and nerve functioning. Blood pressure regulation and supporting your immune system are other functions.
What is the Role of Magnesium Gel in Exercise?
Since we are discussing exercising bodies, let us have a look at the role of magnesium in exercising muscles. An exercising muscle undergoes multiple contractions, but what causes the muscles to contract? There are calcium channels located in muscle membranes allowing the influx of calcium ions, which, in turn, cause muscle contractions. Where is the role of magnesium here? Magnesium gels come to play role in the post-exercising muscles.
The function of magnesium is a blockade of calcium uptake thus preventing the muscles from contracting and thus, promotes relaxation.
Post-exercising muscles undergo fatigue because of rapid contractions. Applying topical magnesium can help prevent it so, post-workout recovery is accelerated.
Serum magnesium levels can be accessed by blood testing. If found low, the levels can be supplemented by either oral or transdermal magnesium remedies. Specifically, topical magnesium has proven to be a better choice in case muscles are most affected.
Benefits of Magnesium:
- Adequate magnesium can improve exercise performance. Increased performance means enhanced strength and power of muscles.
- Magnesium improves the aerobic capacity of working muscles.
- Magnesium is important for everyday functioning.
- Topical magnesium when applied after exercise helps in post-workout muscle relaxation. Thus, preventing acute or delayed onset muscle soreness.
- One of its uses is the activation of Vitamin D, thus preventing muscle weakness and pain due to low Vitamin D levels in the body.
- According to research, magnesium supplementation when taken in adequate amounts can improve the gait speed (walking speed) in older women.
- It also improves the chair stand time in older women, thus promoting independence.10
ŐSIMAGNESIUM gel is manufactured for the sole reason of providing massage to aid relaxation. The formula delivers a large quantity of magnesium into the body by penetration while massaging. Massaging the body with this gel helps block calcium influx and accelerates the post-workout recovery.
The Bottom Line
From the brief discussion, it is concluded that exercising in heat needs to be well regulated. An individual’s body needs adaptations to carry out different activities. So gradual training is effective in preventing any harm to your body. Hydrating yourself has proven to be a very effective contributor in enhancing heat loss. Gels like ŐSIMAGNESIUM gel have also played role in promoting post-exercise relaxation.
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