Tag Archives: heat

Staying Fit in the Summer Heat: Training Tips & Building Your Heat Tolerance

Tips for Staying Fit in the Summer Heat

by Alli Phillips

by Alli Phillips

With the hot summer months quickly approaching, let’s talk about how we can best beat the heat and continue to enjoy outdoor exercise during those sometimes brutal summer months with a smile on our faces!

Your body acclimates to heat in a number of ways, and by cautiously training in the heat to improve the efficiency of your body’s “cooling system,” you will not only be able to better tolerate high temps and humidity (like we have here in Austin), but you’ll also be able to continue to participate in and enjoy your favorite outdoor activities and exercise classes — and may even be motivated to try some new ones!

Here are some important facts about training in the heat and a few tips for building heat tolerance:

Acclimating to Heat

  • The Body Mechanics: The body acclimates to heat with changes in circulation, increased blood flow to the skin for cooling, increased sweat production, and decreased sweat electrolyte concentration.  As you adapt and acclimate to heat, the body begins sweating earlier in exercise, produces a greater volume of sweat, and produces more dilute sweat (losing fewer electrolytes).
  • How to Safely Acclimate: Gradually increasing the duration of exercise in hot conditions allows the body to safely acclimate. With repeated, but cautious and gradual increases in daily exposure, acclimation occurs within 10-14 days, depending on your initial level of heat tolerance.

Tips for Better Cooling Your Body

  • It is the evaporation of sweat (not sweating itself) that cools the body, so wear wicking fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate and light colors that reflect the sun (dark colors absorb sunlight, and thus, heat).
  • Avoid exercising in the direct sun, but rather seek out green shadey spots and trails (versus heat-absorbing pavement), preferably near water where air movement and breezes aid in the evaporative cooling of sweat.

Hydration 101

Because as you adapt and acclimate to heat the body begins sweating earlier in exercise, produces a greater volume of sweat, and produces more dilute sweat (losing fewer electrolytes), PRE-hydration, hydration DURING, and RE-hydration are crucial!

Therefore, increase your overall water/fluid intake during the 24 hours prior to a bout of exercise in the heat. More specifically:

  • 1-2 hours beforehand, drink 15-20 oz of water
  • 15 minutes beforehand, drink another 8-10 oz
  • During, drink 6-8 oz every 15 minutes
  • Afterward, continue to rehydrate, drinking 15-20 oz within an hour or two

Keep In Mind!

Be aware that although your body can and will acclimate to hot temps, you will not be able to exercise at the same intensity as you do in a “thermo-neutral” environment.

  • With the changes in circulation to aid in cooling, more blood is sent to the skin for evaporation, less blood is available to the working muscles, and therefore the intensity of exercise must be reduced.
  • When you’re running or cycling in the heat, use a “rating of perceived effort” or “feel” to gauge the intensity of exercise, instead of your watch, as your pace/speed will be slower than at the same effort level in moderate/mild conditions. (Runners and cyclists should let go of any pace/time-based goals for the summer months.)

Even after acclimating, exercise in extreme temps always requires extreme caution. The following are symptoms of heat related illness and heat stroke. If you experience any of these, take immediate steps to cool down and seek medical attention.
Symptoms of Heat Stress/Illness:

  • Headache
  • Cold, moist skin
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Fast shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • High body temp (103+)

Adjust Your Route

Finally, when running and/or cycling this summer, plan new routes that start, finish, and/or include stops at pools, splash pads, and natural “watering holes,” to cool off, rehydrate, refuel, and ENJOY AUSTIN!

Here, I’ve put together a few cool spots to cool off here in central Austin:

  • Barton Springs Pool/Spillway
  • Deep Eddy Pool
  • West Enfield Pool
  • Big Stacy Pool
  • Ramsey Pool
  • NorthWest Park Pool
  • Clarksville West Austin Wading Pool
  • Little Stacy Wading Pool
  • Butler Park Splash Pad
  • Pease Park Splash Pad
  • Bailey Park Splash Pad
  • Clarksville Splash Pad

Visit austintexas.gov/pools for pool/splash-pad locations, hours, and more info.

Last, but not Least…

One more suggestion for staying cool this summer while enjoying fitness and fun…don’t just exercise near water — take the plunge and try these activities IN the water:

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5 Rules to Safely Exercise in Summer Heat

by Catherine Hearn

by Catherine Hearn

Summer is HOT in Texas, this we know. With average high temperatures for June and July in the mid-90s, we often find ourselves avoiding the outdoors and consequently missing out on the energizing, rejuvenating and relaxing benefits of spending time in nature. This summer, instead of letting the heat dictate your plans for you, enjoy the heat smartly so that you can still enjoy being active and outside. How so? Plan your time outdoors strategically by scheduling outdoor activities as close to sunrise and sunset as possible. For us Austinites, that means around 6:30am and 8:25pm. On the other hand, if you do find yourself exercising outdoors during the heat of the day, here are a few pointers to help keep you safe and as comfortable as possible:

  1. Hydrate! Drink fluids before you feel thirsty, as thirst is not a good indicator of either dehydration or fluid needs.
  2. Allow yourself to acclimatize to exercising in the heat (which can take 10-14 days). Until your body is completely adjusted to the intense heat, reduce the intensity of your exercise.
  3. Dress as lightly as possible and in fabrics that breathe or wick away moisture. The more loose-fitting the better!
  4. Wear sunscreen with a rating of at least 20-30
  5. Always wear a hat if you will be exposed to direct sun rays. The head is a prominent place to gain heat, not just to lose it!

Long story short, don’t dread the Texas summer heat — outsmart it!

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So Simple, Yet Magical!

I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man. — Henry David Thoreau

Action: Start each day with a giant glass of water and drink a LOT of water throughout the day as well as before, during and after exercising.  Make sure to drink at least the daily recommended 64 oz.

by Sha Klatt

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! How many times have we all heard this? We all know we should drink 6-8, 8 oz. glasses of water each day, and it’s actually more important than you may think. Recently, I have heard several scary stories related to dehydration. Five people in our community, ranging in ages from 16-60 lost consciousness and some were seriously injured when they fell, leaving them hospitalized and placed on IV’s for several days, ALL because of dehydration.

I have had three less-serious dehydration scares of my own. In the past several years, I have had more and more headaches. Last year I had three unbelievable migraines that sent me to the emergency room for very expensive headache relief. I tried to figure out what was triggering the migraines, a glass of wine? A margarita? The high altitude of an airplane flight?

Finally, I realized the common thread… all of these activities were dehydrating.  After an 8-week experiment, I have become a HYDRATION ADVOCATE! I started paying attention to my water intake, making sure I was actually getting the recommended daily dose, and lo and behold, I haven’t had one headache since! I can have a glass of wine or a margarita and not get a headache, as long as it’s accompanied by a large glass of water. Now, when I feel a headache coming on I start drinking water and POOF, the headache is gone. It’s so simple, yet magical! Plus, I really do feel so much better when I’m properly hydrated.

Staying hydrated is such a tremendously important topic that I am challenging you to pay extra attention to your water (not tea, soda or coffee) consumption, especially in this scorching summer heat. I promise you will be doing your body a huge favor! You’ll perform better both physically and mentally, feel awesome and have tremendous energy.

Let’s start each day with a giant glass of water and don’t forget to drink a LOT of water before, during and after you iGnite (or exercise elsewhere). Make sure you get the daily recommended 64 oz. and avoid using the grocery store purchased water bottles, as our landfills are filled with plastic, (which takes 450 to 1000 years to decompose!) and is actually very difficult and costly to recycle. Use and refill a reusable water bottle instead!

Finally, try not to buy into the “celebrity hype” as they promote their favorite water. As clever and funny as some of the advertisements are, such as this weeks video, keep your money in your pocket (think of the money you will save!!) and enjoy the good ‘ole water from your faucet or filter.  AND now is the perfect time to replace lost potassium and electrolytes with watermelon. Deeelish!!

In the spirit of properly hydrating, we also encourage you to join in on the iGnite water fun such as the  Lake EscapeSwimming, and Yoga on the dock (overlooking the water).

Yoga Lake2 

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