Exercising in the Heat – Repost

May 1, 2012 at 07:00 Leave a comment

As the Spring and Summer approach yet again…..it’s always wise to remind ourselves how to exercise properly in the heat. Therefore – we’ll repost this every year with any new data that may come along.  🙂



The "I" in F.I.T.

Reposted from June 2011

For some of you – the heat has already reared its warm, delightful head as Summer edges closer.  And for some of us, we’re still waiting for a consistent weather change (welcome to Chicago).  Regardless, we thought it would be great to give our readers some basic guidelines when exercising in the heat.

You m

ay wonder why it’s sometimes difficult to keep your pace or complete the distance in the heat. Well, extreme conditions such as heat or cold can add significant stress to your cardiovascular system, so special precautions must be taken before you head out for that blistering run.

To be somewhat scientific – a significant amount of metabolic heat is produced when exercising. To reduce the internal heat, venous blood is brought to the surface to be cooled – and then…..we sweat – which works to cool the underlying blood.  In optimal conditions, these mechanisms prevent the body from raising the core temperature by more than 2° to 3° F  even during heavy exercise.

Exercising in the heat, however, stresses the body’s system. Relieving that internal body heat is compounded by the external heat from the environment resulting in a higher heart rate than normal at ANY LEVEL of exercise. The risk of heat overload is compounded if excessive clothing is worn, improper hydration is practiced OR if someone is overweight because the body has added body fat over the muscles which traps the heat from escaping – thus leaving the person more susceptible to heat overload.

The most difficult type of weather to exercise in is hot and humid.  When the air contains a large quantity of water, sweat will not evaporate easily. And remember, since it is that whole evaporative process that cools the body, adequate cooling may not occur.

So – what are some precautions that we may all take (again – at ANY level of exercise) during the heat filled months of Summer?

*       Begin exercising in the heat gradually. Let your body get used to cooling itself effectively before heading out into 95° weather.

*       Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics (cotton, light-colored, etc.)  Extra padding or inadequate ventilation will only SLOW your body down.

*       Replace fluids as they are lost – but do not over-hydrate (as that is just as bad as dehydration – more on that in a separate post).

*       Record daily body weights before and after exercising. If you lose 5 pounds of fluid during exercise, make sure to replenish this amount before you exercise again.

As always – Health is in you.

Be thirsty, be smart and be healthy.

Exercising in the Heat PDF Download


Entry filed under: F.I.T., The I in F.I.T..

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