Humid, Hot Weather Conditions And Their Effects On Exercise
Humid weather and excruciatingly hot weather conditions can force you to skip a workout. Sometimes when you’re stuck in a tropical climate and it feels almost too hot to move. Exercising is the last thing you feel like facing, On the other hand, skipping your sweat session is a definite, no, because you’re dedicated to your fitness routine,
The problem is that whenever you exercise in a humid climate… You might feel dizzy, nauseous, light-headed or weak during or after the workout.
There’s nothing worse than feeling completely exhausted for the rest of the day. And unlike most people, who’d much prefer to sit around in a cool air-conditioned room. You’re still committed to sticking to your routine. However, your usual fitness schedule might have to change slightly, if you want to take proper care of your health.
Humid Weather Affects Your Body
If you’re going to exercise in extremely hot and humid conditions. Then you need to take caution. I am currently staying in Kenya, Watamu – where the weather is sometimes so hot that you feel as if you’re about to melt. But because fitness is a huge part of my lifestyle and career, I am not prepared to miss out on it because of the heat. If you’re like me. you must be aware of how it can affect your body and what to do to protect yourself.
When you exercise vigorously, a humid climate can cause your core body temperature to increase significantly. This will stress your body’s natural cooling system which works hard to maintain all the normal body functions. According to health experts, when you don’t maintain proper precautions you might experience various heat-related conditions.
Humid Heat Conditions
Painful Heat Cramps
You know that feeling when your toe decides to randomly scrunch up and throb uncontrollably? Well, this pain you’re feeling is a sore, involuntary contraction of the muscles. It is caused when excessive sweating depletes the body of important salts and fluid levels drop.
Experts explain that these painful muscle cramps often happen in the calf, thigh or abdomen. However, they might also occur in your arms during sports like tennis where a lot of repetitive muscular force is used.
If you’ve just finished an intense workout and you begin to feel light-headed or faint. Then you are experiencing heat syncope. Moreover, these sensations can happen during or after exercise. The excessive humidity can trigger this which causes you to experience dizziness or even loss of consciousness.
Although these sensations are uncomfortable, they do not usually last long which is half the problem. Just because the condition subsides quickly doesn’t mean you should ignore it and continue as normal with your fitness routine. You might recover almost immediately. However, it could be detrimental if you keep doing the same thing each time you try to sneak in high-intensity workouts amongst the humid heat.
That’s why it’s vital that you include a warm-up before every workout. It’s very common for these symptoms to occur when there is no gradual warm-up before strenuous activities. Having said that, you must also always cool down properly after any exercise. If you suddenly stop a vigorous activity you can cause your blood pressure to drop significantly.
If you experience an unusual level of lethargy during the day after completing an intense workout in hot and humid weather. Then you’re probably experiencing heat exhaustion. The effects can be debilitating and sadly we often overlook the dangers.
Completing a short and intense workout seems like a great idea to maximise your results. But, is it really worth the risk? Working out in excessive heat can cause you to experience intense thirst, nausea, weakness, anxiety, and lightheadedness after exercising.
Therefore, you’re at a huge risk of collapsing due to elevated body temperature.
Humid weather and the hot sun combined can bring on a serious case of heat stroke. This is probably one of the most severe heat-related conditions. Experts explain that it is when the body is unable to cope with the extreme heat. Moreover, heat stroke is identified when your core temperature rises above 400C (>104 F).
When your body reaches excessive core temperatures, then the central nervous system starts to dysfunction. This is what leads to confusion, altered sensation, and seizures. Therefore, you must take caution because heat stroke is actually a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention.
Prevent Humid Heat Illnesses
Luckily, there are methods you can use to avoid these illnesses from happening. It just means that you need to take care of and refine your fitness routine. And you’ll find that most of them are common sense.
It is very important to educate yourselves about the consequences of playing sports or exercising in hot and humid climates. Carefully read through the following precautions so that you can keep fit in tropical or humid areas.
Always Complete Acclimatization
When you’re based in a sticky, hot area then you need to give your body more time to adjust before getting straight into the workout. The body takes time to adjust especially if you usually exercise indoors.
You’ll need to start slowly, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workout. Do not just dive right in. That’s the fastest lane to passing out.
I’m sure you’re familiar with keeping hydrated. And I know that you know how important it is. However, it’s even more crucial if you’re going to workout out vigorously in a humid environment. You’ll need to take in plenty of fluids even before you start your exercises.
You need to keep sipping both an electrolyte drink and water during your workout because dehydration is the major factor for most heat-related illness. According to research, coconut water is one of the best forms of hydration. But your body requires a certain volume of fluid to maintain normal blood pressure so do not replace water.
The reason you require electrolyte drinks is to stabilize sodium and potassium levels. In addition, they add carbohydrates which help reduce fluid loss, maintain performance, lower exercise heart rate, reduce heat stress, heat exhaustion, and possibly heat stroke.
Take Regular Breaks
You need to structure your workouts into a format that consists of intermittent rest periods. This allows your body to cool down and not overheat. You will also be to catch your breath, drink some water, stretch and then slowly get back to working out.
Think of these breaks like mini recovery sessions for your body.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen
Even if you’re not exercising in direct sunlight this is still pertinent. Before every workout, you must apply sunscreen to prevent your skin from burning or blistering. It is also important to reapply regularly when sweating.
I’d recommend using a sweat-proof product with a low SPF30. Not only do you want to revent heat conditions, but you need to protect yourself from skin cancers too..
Don’t Exercise In Direct Sunlight
Try not to exercise in the baking heat. It’s best to pick a time that the weather is cooler and the sun is not too hot yet. That’s why it is best to workout early in the morning or late in the evening.
Whatever time you choice, be sure to avoid the baking sun!
Workouts Should Be Progressive
If you’re exercising in humid conditions then you might need to be less intense about your workout. It’s best to progress slowly rather than plunging into it full force. Rather build up slowly and then once you’re used to the climate on that day, increase the intensity. Accept that the heat and humidity may not allow you to perform the way you would in a more temperate climate.
You need to be smart about the situation rather than trying to compete with your past workouts!
Watch Out For Sore Muscles
Stop immediately if you’re muscles begin to cramp up or get sore. Don’t just push through it. This means you are dehydrated.
It’s always better to stop exercising and give your body time to calm down. Doctors suggest seeking shade, gentle stretching, taking fluids and resting for the remainder of the day.
Trust Your Body When It Calls
Too often we ignore our bodies when they’re trying to tell us something. When you’re feeling sick, hungry or tired – the body let’s you know. If you don’t listen, it forces you to listen, That’s why when you experience dizziness, nausea or headaches don’t just brush them off.
These are the first warning signs of heat conditions. And you don’t even need to feel thirsty before you start losing hydration. 2% of fluid loss happens before you even know to drink water, Therefore, it’s vital you keep drinking and urinating regularly to ensure you have enough fluid in your system.
If you begin experiencing any of the above symptoms then you must stop and immediately get some shade, air-conditioning or hop into a cold shower while drinking lots of water.
Depending on the activity you’re about to do, you can think ahead of time. If you’re going for a long run, or completing a hike. Then it’s vital you get the necessary hydration and fuel beforehand, during and after the activity. The same applies for any workouts,
It might be a good idea to let people know about it in case of an emergency. You could also pack snacks to keep your energy, sodium and water levels balanced.
So, if you’re staying in a hot and humid place and love keeping fit and healthy. Then go for it! However, you must be mindful about the effects of extreme heat and incorporate the necessary methods into your fitness routine,
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