Hot Weather, Hydration, and Your Health
When it comes to hot weather and exercise, hydration is vital to staying healthy and preventing injuries. During extreme heat or rigorous exercising your body’s temperature can soar to dangerous levels.
The average body temperature is about 98.6 degrees. Extreme athletes can actually train their body to tolerate temperatures of up to 105 degrees. This doesn’t make them less susceptible to heat stroke, but during exercising, they’ve conditioned their body to withstand higher temperatures than an average person.
Combining hot weather with exercise can easily take your core temperature above 103 – the beginning of the red zone.
When you sweat your body loses water. Too much loss of water in your system can cause an imbalance of salt in your system resulting in cramps, confusion or dizziness, heat rash, and swelling of hands, legs and feet. This may result in headaches, fainting, and in worst-case scenarios, heatstroke or even death. In fact, deaths related to heatstroke aren’t as uncommon as you may think! Recently, a college football player died as a result of heatstroke during an outdoor practice session during the hottest part of the day. So always listen to your body, and when you feel weak or dizzy after an exercise, go someplace cool, away from the heat, and rest.
This isn’t to scare you!
We want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. The best thing you can do is keep hydrated and stay cool. Sweating is your body’s natural cooling mechanism but when you’re dehydrated, there isn’t enough water. In fact, your body goes into self-preservation mode and will save your core. Not sweating during exercise is a clue to take it easy and drink something.
Pushing yourself, within moderation
As athletes, we’re often told to push ourselves to the absolute limits in order to boost our strength and stamina. The truth is that overexertion can lead to some serious problems, like the ones listed above. For this reason, it’s important to listen to your body—when you feel weak and dizzy, take a quick break and cool off. And always remember to stay hydrated.
You’ll find that taking a more health-oriented approach to sports and exercise will help increase your performance in the long term, and can even boost your alertness, strength, and coordination. On the other hand, if you continue to push yourself while fatigued and dehydrated, you run the risk of injuring yourself. Just remember that it’s okay to push through an exercise routine but it’s just as important to listen to your body. Drink plenty of fluids throughout your workout and take care of your health.
Are you paying attention to what your body tells you?
Share your experience when hydration affected you.