Fitness in the Heat

Fitness classes in the heat: how dangerous, reasonable and effective is it? How not to harm yourself with fitness in hot weather?

When it’s hot outside, the body has to work harder to provide thermoregulation and maintain the stability of all its systems. Physical activity, including sports and fitness, is an additional strain on the body.

Fitness in the Heat

Extreme Heat vs. Sport

Extreme heat and sports are not compatible. It is a great strain on the human body. Under high physical and heat stress, a person’s natural cooling system can simply begin to fail, allowing internal heat to build up to dangerous levels. This process can result in heat stroke, which can manifest as heat cramps or heat exhaustion during fitness. With heat exhaustion, a person experiences a rise in body temperature, headaches, extreme thirst and weakness, and in extreme cases, it results in a short-term loss of consciousness.

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Is it safe to do Fitness in the Heat?

This question is quite difficult to answer in general. If one does decide to exercise outdoors, much depends on everyone’s level of fitness: professional athletes may be more adapted to the hot weather than amateurs. People at risk of cardiovascular disease are definitely better off avoiding training on such days. Much also depends on the regularity of a person’s training. You should not go out to work out in the heat if you have never done so before or have had a long pause between your last workout.

It is best to do fitness in comfortable clothes made of natural fabrics that breathe and absorb sweat. You should not work out in clothes that retain heat, because this can lead to overheating of the body. It is worth avoiding synthetic fabrics, because synthetic fabrics tend to heat up and have poor air permeability, which also contributes to unnecessary heating of the body.

During an outdoor fitness it is important to:

  • constantly replenish electrolyte balance;
  • Drink plenty of water (not cold) rich in minerals;
  • exercise in the shade;
  • be sure to wear a hat;
  • use sunscreen;
  • use a cool towel to cool down;
  • Do not exercise outside for more than 1.5 to 2 hours.

It is extremely important to dose the load. It is better to perform less repetitions, reduce the weight or do without it at all, but still keep your health. It is not necessary to strive to maintain a habitual pace.

It makes sense to think about choosing alternative types of exercise – for example, static exercises instead of dynamic ones. In the case of dynamic exercises, cardio exercise, it is necessary to do increased intervals during the exercise, to rest more.

After each approach or set, you can walk for 1-2 minutes, equalizing your breathing, or lie on your back.

After training, you should rest for 20-30 minutes or more, depending on the intensity of the exercise.

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The Best Place and Time for Fitness in Hot Weather?

Do you fitness preferably early in the morning or after 6-7 pm. Exercising in the heat increases the strain on the heart and can lead to fatal consequences, especially if you exercise outdoors.

It is very important that the room for exercise provides access to fresh air, because in hot weather there is a lack of oxygen, while physical activity increases the need for oxygen saturation of the blood cells. If it is stuffy indoors or outdoors, it is better either to refrain from doing any exercise at all or reduce the load significantly (for example, by doing light warm-up and breathing exercises, doing physical therapy, replace running by walking or jogging).

It is not recommended to perform exercises, especially those that strongly warm up and make you sweat, including stretching, in a room with an air conditioner or fan. This is because in hot weather the body gets hot, doing exercises under an air conditioner or fan will cause the body to begin to cool, which will cause the body to retain heat – the body will become warmed up. This will increase the strain on the heart. In addition, the heated body can simply blow away.

You can move the workout to an open space, provided there is no direct sunlight.

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Is it worth replacing a workout outdoors in the heat with a workout in the gym?

Fitness and training in the gym in this weather depends on the conditions of the gym. If the gym has high ceilings, air conditioning around 70°F and good ventilation, you can exercise as you are used to.

It should be understood that during physical activity in the human body there is an increased metabolism with high consumption of oxygen, which leads to profuse sweating and electrolyte imbalance.

Exactly the same processes occur at high ambient temperatures, especially they intensify when you also train at such a temperature. So it’s a double load for the human body. And the electrolyte imbalance itself in the body can lead to heart rhythm disturbances.

What sports are best in hot weather?

In hot weather, it is best to choose static activities with pauses to rest and replenish fluids. For example, non-intensive exercises that are usually done during warm-up.

Running and competitive sports are best avoided if the workout is outdoors. They can also be rescheduled for the morning or evening hours, when temperatures will be well below what they normally are when the sun is at its zenith, from 11:00 to 4:00 p.m.

What to Drink in the Heat during Fitness?

During exercise, water comes out with your sweat. This process is more intense in hot weather. You should take a bottle of water with you when you work out to stay hydrated. During a run or cardio it is not recommended to drink, but it is allowed to rinse your mouth 1-2 times without swallowing. And afterwards, when breathing restores and takes a normal rhythm, drink water. If the fitness training does not involve additional cardio, then in between sets it is recommended to take 1-2 sips of water. After completing a set of exercises, you can drink a sufficient amount of water.

However, it is not recommended to drink cold water, as it forces the body to start the warming process, which may lead to overheating, and also increases the likelihood of catching a cold. Water should be at a comfortable room temperature.

During your workout, it is recommended that you drink:

  • water;
  • Low-carbohydrate beverages (6-8 percent).

The temperature of the liquid you drink should not be lower than 50-60°F.

Exactly do not need to consume:

  • fruit juice;
  • carbonated drinks;
  • carbonated sports drinks;
  • beverages high in sugars;
  • drinks with caffeine.

Of course, I insist that you quit drinking alcoholic beverages anyway, so I’m not even adding this point to the list.

Reyus Mammadli

If you feel very thirsty, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea and irritation during your workout, these may be symptoms of dehydration. Stop your workout, replenish your water balance and see your doctor.

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