Tips for Exercising During the Summer Heat
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- It is equally important to hydrate when swimming
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!