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Tis’ the season to be sweaty!

With the heat comes a whole host of different complaints and injuries.

Whilst it is still ok to train outdoors this summer, one must be mindful of the environment and situation that you’re putting yourself into. It is not actually dangerous to exercise in the heat. What can be dangerous is how each of us as individuals handle the heat. Your nutrition and preparation is key.

Often injuries happen when athletes lose focus or have a lapse in concentration caused by the heat. Problems also arise from cramping, as muscles contract and shorten and can become very tight. I have been treating a lot of lower limb complaints over the past few weeks caused from calf tightness.

Here are a few tips when dealing with the heat:

Kirsten Exercising in the heat

  1. Plan where to exercise: In Dubai this is difficult as we can’t hide from the sun due to a lack of trees. However you can still get out into the desert or outlying areas. In the city the heat gets stuck in between houses and temperatures are warmer, so try mix your training up a bit. I like to ride and out at Meydan and behind the cycle track. Temperatures are sometimes up to 3-4 degrees cooler here.
  2. Drink 750 ml an hour: You should try consume a big bottle every hour (750 ml of fluids). During the cooler weather I usually have one bottle with plain water and one with a sports specific drink, but in the summer, I use one bottle with a sports drink and another one with a rehydration tablet to keep the correct electrolyte levels in my body.
  3. Keep your head cool: When your head overheats you can become tired and lose focus. Try run in a cap that you can soak in water to keep you cool.
  4. Add salt to food: We tend to lose a lot more sodium in the summer. Ever notice that “salty crust” on your clothes or face after you train? Sodium is vitally important. The body uses sodium to control blood pressure and blood volume. Your body also needs sodium for your muscles and nerves to work properly. A lack of sodium can cause tiredness, lethargy, again a lack in concentration as well as muscle cramps.
  5. Avoid alcohol before training sessions : Alcohol, particularly at high doses, can cause you to excrete more than you consume. Unlike caffeine. One drink, especially of beer, won’t do much (it’s about 92 percent water), but wine and hard liquor have more of a dehydrating effect because of their higher alcohol content. If planning to train outside, do not have a big night before. In this hot weather your body needs to retain fluids, not get rid of them.
  6. It is equally important to hydrate when swimming

 

Kirsten Exercising

My Recommendation:

I was recently recommended a great recovery supplement that has done me the world of good. This I take straight after a training session to supplement my electrolyte loss. It is called Bix. It was developed by an ultramarathon runner, Vlad Ixel. Who also has incredible videos on YouTube- check him out!

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Due to Covid-19 a lot of companies turned to the option of working from home for the employees in an attempt to minimize the risk of their employees contracting the virus. But this led the majority of employees to work with a sub-optimal office setup at home where a proper desk was swapped for a dinning or a coffee table (and sometimes even the thighs), a big screen with a tiny laptop, and an ergonomic chair for a dining chair or the sofa. All the above in combination with the increased hours that some of these employees had to work and the stress of uncertainty over the job security, resulted in an increase of neck, back and lower back pain cases.

Below are some tips that will help minimize the risk of developing neck, shoulder, back and or lower back pain when working from home:

  • Don’t hunch over your laptop

Laptops were designed for use on the go for about 2-3 hours and not 8 hours a day. If you do not have a proper desk and an external screen (which is better and recommended), it is advisable to adjust a few things. The top of the screen has to be at eye level, the screen has to be an arm’s length away and the arms have to be by the side of the body and the elbows at 90 degrees when using the keyboard and the mouse. All the above are nearly impossible with the use of only the laptop. So an external keyboard and a mouse are absolutely necessary for the distance and the position of the hands and something to place the laptop onto so that we bring the screen at eye level.

  • Use an ergonomic office chair (or make adjustments to the one you are using) and don’t let your feet dangle

If the chair you are using is too low you can use a pillow or a towel so that your hips and knees are at 90 degree angles. If the legs are dangling in the air, this can cause pain in the lower back, so you can place some books or a box under your feet so that they are in the 90/90 position as mentioned above.

  • Establish a routine and take regular breaks for your eyes and your body

Try to take your eyes away from the screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object far for 20 seconds. Whenever you can, stand up and walk for example during a phone call. If you have a suitable space and furniture try to alternate working in standing and sitting. Program your breakfast, lunch break, dinner and your finish time so that you can meet with friends, do your hobbies, exercise and sleep properly which will help mentally and physically the body to recover and rejuvenate.

5 top tips to get the perfect home workstation

  • Use a laptop stand to elevate/lift the screen
  • Use an ergonomic office chair
  • Take regular breaks to change positions regularly and rest the eyes
  • Use an external mouse and keyboard
  • Invest in a sit to stand desk to optimize health

 

By Physio: Ioannis Rellias

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