It’s really, really hot out there.
Makes sense, though, doesn’t it? I mean, it is June, and temperatures have already been above average for the hottest part of the year. Those of us who enjoy daily vigorous exercise and like to do it outdoors are already seeing that we have to resort to strategies that preserve hydration levels and limit the effects of the heat on fatigue.
For instance, the sun is extremely powerful and in a heat wave such as the one we lived through this week, it can sap your energy and your hydration levels faster than you might think. In fact, working out in the height of the sunny hours can even make your workout worse if you do not accommodate for water loss and potential cramping.
Watering yourself down
My rule of thumb for working out in the heat of summer is to have a one-minute water break for every five minutes of exercise. If you’re jogging or riding your bike, take a water bottle with you – especially if you have a long-distance workout planned. Best to plan ahead then find yourself miles from home with cramps in your legs. A banana will also help stave off cramps, but the primary cause of muscle cramping is dehydration, and it sets in nearly 75 per cent faster in the height of the sun (between Noon and 2 p.m.). So, keep a water bottle or two handy, and consider bringing a sports drink or a banana as well to help stave off the imbalance of electrolytes and potassium in the muscles.
A massive cover-up
Direct sunlight is incredibly fatiguing and can be deleterious to your workout as well. Sure, getting a good healthy sweat on is desirable, but consider covering your head with a hat or a bandana to help keep the direct sunlight off the head. If you don’t feel comfortable keeping your head covered when exercising, all is not lost. Consider looking for some shade, or simply duck under a tree for your water breaks, which should be doubled and even tripled from normal when the temperature reaches 28C or above.
Breaking it in
I touched on this in the paragraph above: consider, at all costs, the idea of increasing the number of breaks in your exercise routine to keep your body temperature low and avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke, which are not only workout killers but can be actual killers, and in a best-case scenario, will ruin your day. Keep an eye on your skin – reddening of the face can be an early sign of heat exhaustion – and be sure to take a break such as one minute in shade for every four or five minutes spent exercising in the sun. Mother Nature is unbeaten in the history of the world, and 2021 is no different. Be safe and have fun!
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase