Beat the Heat this Summer!

Beat the Heat this Summer!

📅August 16th, 2016, 16:00

We all love sunny summer weather, right? Think shorts, swimsuits, picnics, outdoor festivals, and longer days. Unfortunately for us athletes, that “awesome sunny weather” can make things a bit toasty in the summer and in turn make training more difficult. Exercising in the heat puts extra stress on the body, and if you’re not prepared for that, your training and health can really suffer.

To help cool itself, the body sends more blood to circulate through the skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which consequently increases your heart rate and the overall stress on the body. Not only that, but as your muscles increase in activity, your muscle cells heat up and can shut down if heated too high. To combat these effects, it is vitally important to find ways to cope and adjust your workouts in the heat to ensure healthy, safe training. Below is a guide on how to successfully train under that intense summer sun!

Tips to Beat The Heat This Summer:

IMG_25621. HYDRATE! It sounds obvious and easy, but dehydration is the leading cause of heat related illness. Shoot for 8oz each hour along with some electrolytes mixed in (electrolytes like potassium and sodium are what make your muscles contract and relax!). It sounds like a lot, but your body will thank you later. Also be mindful of what you have been drinking the day before or morning of your workout. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which increase your urine output. This puts you at a higher risk for dehydration. So if you enjoyed one or three microbrews the night before your long run, be sure to hydrate accordingly. Keeping a water bottle next to your bed and drinking during the night whenever you wake will help you start off the day more hydrated!

2. Try and get your outdoor workouts done in the morning or evening if you can. This is easier to do during the summer with the longer days, but sometimes life gets in the way and we don’t have a choice. You can always head inside during the hottest parts of the day, between 12 and 7 pm (peaking from 3-6 pm). Not only will you most likely get a better workout, you will be safe from the negative effects of intense heat exposure.

3. When it comes to clothing, be sure to wear light-colored tech clothes that are loose fitting. The light color will help reflect sunlight and the loose fitting gear will allow your body to breathe and cool itself more efficiently. A lot of folks like to workout shirtless or with minimal clothing when it’s hot. If you choose to do so, be sure to lather up with quality sunscreen.

4. Even though a lot of body heat escapes through the head, it is still important to wear a hat or visor. This will keep the sun off your face and will keep your hypothalamus from thinking you are being fried like an egg, preventing a redirection of blood flow away from your muscles. If you do wear a hat be sure it is breathable! 

5. When you are starting your workout in the sun, make a conscious effort to start easy. Starting relaxed will allow your body to adjust and will allow your core temperature to stay lower longer. Starting slower than usual will set you up for a better workout, but don’t hesitate to alter your workout when you see signs of heat exhaustion or over heating.

Beach to Beacon 10K

6. If you aren’t feeling so hot (no pun intended) be sure to look for the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat related illness:

Headache, confusion, lack of concentration, hot and cold flashes, upset stomach, muscle cramping, vomiting, and dizziness. 

7. Try to plan your workouts to be near or on the water, preferably in the shade. Next to a lake or river, the temperature can be 5-10 degrees cooler. Luckily in Bend we are blessed with many options, like the Deschutes River, Shevlin park, and the many mountain lakes and trails that surround us! And a quick splash or dip can do wonders to cooling off your core body temperature.

8. Your hands have a big role in thermoregulation, so try beginning your workout with small frozen water bottles in your hands to help keep your core temp lower longer. Not only will this help you perform better, you will get to drink the water as it melts!

Now that you’re an expert on working out in the heat, go forth and conquer! We will be waiting for you at Recharge to help you recover faster by gettting your core temperatures down with our ice bath, GameReady ice compression, and a cold glass of BDK Kombucha! 🙂

Related Articles:

Overcoming Training Fatigue and Burnout

Recovery – It’s More Than Just A Rest Day!

Infrared Sauna to Increase Workout Benefits

Pump The Brakes: Why Training Breaks Are Important