April 25, 2019

Hot Climate Exercise by Mathew Ireland

Training outdoors in hot temps is not all sunshine and roses; exercising in the heat can also cause problems!

Hydration

Firstly, I don’t want to bore you by telling you to stay hydrated. We all know the health risks. What I will say is why it is important to stay hydrated when training. Dehydration is not only seriously bad for your health, it also has a negative impact on your training. Studies suggest that to get the most out of your workout, your body needs to be adequately hydrated. This is the case for all types of training, from cardio to strength training.

Another risk when training in hot climates is heat cramp. Heat cramps can easily stop you exercising. They can also be prevented, by maintaining a balance of water and sodium (salt) in your diet.

Acclimatization

Many people may overlook this but your body needs to adjust to the heat. In order to acclimatize, you should increase intensity and duration in the heat over time (typically between 3 days and 2 weeks, depending on the individual). Acclimatization can provide many benefits including earlier sweating to keep cool, and less sodium lost with sweat.

Clothing

You should wear loose, light-colored clothing, which is designed to promote cooling. It’s also worth thinking about your footwear. Training shoes that ‘breathe’ will help keep your feet cool.

Skin Care

Once again, using sun cream in radiant heat should be obvious. Sunburn is uncomfortable and can stop you from training. Always protect your skin.

After Exercise

Replacing any water or electrolytes after exercise is important, especially for recovery. With adequate time, electrolytes will be replaced by a balanced diet but can also be replaced with specific sports drinks. It is important to note that if you are working out for less than an hour, you shouldn’t need an electrolyte drink. They are designed for use after longer periods of exercise.

Using this advice, plan your workouts in advance to get the most out of your training.

Mathew Ireland is the founder and a regular writer for Fitness Cumbria – an online magazine delivering health and fitness information to the Cumbrian population. He trains clients over the county, and focuses on outdoor and body-weight training.

 

Are You at Risk? by Laura Maydak

Winter Dehydration: Are You at Risk?

Here’s a question: Is the risk of dehydration in the winter similar to that in the summer?

Using context clues (the title), you may have an idea as to the correct response.  But, if you still aren’t sure, the answer is yes.  Here’s the next question: Do you know why?

Think about summer: It’s hot and humid, the sun is blazing, and you’re noticeably sweating.  You’re losing a lot of body water when you exercise, and you’re fully aware of it.

Now, think about winter: The air is dry and cold, you can see your breath when you breathe out, and you’re bundled up in layers.  You’re losing a lot of body water when you exercise, but you’re unaware of it. The reasons for fluid loss in the winter are less obvious than those in the summer, but understanding them is critical for optimal hydration status and athletic performance.  Here’s what you need to know:

The air is dry and cold
When you breathe in, your body humidifies the air.  This is the reason you can see your breath when you breathe out.  What you may not realize is that this causes you to lose considerable amounts of fluid through respiration.
Also, these conditions make for fast evaporative sweat loss.  Any part of your body that is exposed to the elements will not be sweaty for long, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t losing body water.

You’re bundled up in layers
Depending on how many layers you wear, you may be carrying a significant amount of extra weight.  Extra weight means extra effort to move.  Extra effort to move means increased exercise intensity.  Increased exercise intensity lends itself to heavier breathing and more sweating, which takes us back to the problems listed above.

You don’t feel thirsty
This is the most important issue of which to be aware.  In the summer, when we become dehydrated, our bodies elicit a thirst response, helping to prevent dehydration.  In the winter, our body’s ability to elicit this response is decreased.  Without getting into the specifics, the way our bodies respond to cold temperatures alters the brain’s ability to detect dehydration.  When we aren’t thirsty, we don’t drink, which allows for further dehydration.

Dehydration seriously hinders performance and wellbeing.  Avoid it by taking note of these tips:
 
Hydrate early and often:
- Drink non-carbonated, non-caffeinated fluid (~16 oz every hour) before you exercise to ensure that you start fully hydrated
- During exercise, drink 4-8 oz of liquid every 15-20 minutes
- For workouts lasting longer than 1 hour, drink a sports drink to replenish lost electrolytes
- After exercising, drink 16-24 oz per pound lost (weigh yourself before and after you workout to determine pounds of water lost)

Be aware of the signs of dehydration:
- Early fatigue
- Faster breathing and heart rate
- Dizziness
- Headache
- Dark yellow urine (you want it to be almost clear)

So remember, bundle up and drink up!

Laura is currently a graduate student in the University of Pittsburgh’s Coordinated Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics program, one semester away from being eligible to become a registered dietitian.  Connect with Laura on twitter (@lmaydak) for motivation and tips to live your healthiest, happiest life – all given with a healthy dose of humor.