Tips for Dealing With Heat Stress During Physical Activity

Posted: September 18th, 2012 under Fitness.
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Whether athletes like it or not they are predisposed to heat exhaustion while training during the summer months. If the temperature and the relative humidity are both above 80 degrees, precautions need to be taken to avoid both injury and illness.

During hard physical work, like football practice, soccer practice, a baseball game or even cutting the grass, your body produces 15 to 20 times the amount of heat it normally generates. Many will vouch for the fact they sweat more in the summer that’s because your body uses sweat as a main way of ridding of the excess heat. The loss of 10% of your body’s water, through sweating can put your health in danger because you body heat builds up.

“Drink lots of fluids, especially ones with electrolytes like Gatorade or Powerade,” said Dr. Ian Taylor of Winchester, Tennessee. “It’s also smart to exercise at the right time of day, staying out of the real heat.”

There are a number of precautions that can be taken to avoid falling victim to heat exhaustion.

If you don’t exercise regularly already, during the hot summer weather is not the best time to start, unless of course you are using an indoor facility.

Shifting workouts to the early morning or evening can help avoid the sun during its peak hours.

Even though you may not be thirsty, drink more fluids. Drinking plenty of water the day before strenuous activity is the best way to prevent dehydration issues. Prior to exercise, about two hours before hitting the field try to consume about a pint of additional liquid.

Don’t forget to drink fluids while you are actually exercising, every 20 minutes of so is recommended.
“Rest is always a good thing. Proper nutrition and rest are very important,” said Ken Millrany, personal trainer at Mass Appeal Fitness Center in Decherd, Tennessee. “On an average day you should have eight glasses of water. When it’s really hot you need to increase that.”

If you start to feel ill while out in the sun, remove yourself from the sunlight, find some shade or head indoors and rest in a cool place.

Two common don’ts that frequently cause problems in the heat are alcohol and caffeine. Though a soda before practice may give you some quick energy, it will also speed up dehydration by making you visit the restroom more, while alcohol metabolism uses up water.

Urine is a good way to gage how dehydrated you are, the clearer the better and if not get water quickly.

These are great tips not only for all the athletes out on the fields training, but also for the large number of people who work outside in the heat all day and let us not forget the children outside playing.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:



Profuse sweating and thirst


A slightly elevated temperature
Be aware of your body and how it’s reacting to the sun. Quite often people get engrossed in what they’re doing and don’t realize they’re getting overheated. Stay on top of your health and have fun.

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