During warm and sunny weather we all love to do outdoor activities. But, we should take care to avoid heat-related injuries and illnesses. Heat illness is a common, yet preventable, problem for those who exercise, play sports, or spend time outdoors in the hot and humid months.
Use the following guidelines to decrease the risk of heat illness:
Those planning on exercising in hot and humid weather need to be accustomed gradually to this environmental stress. You should exercise at decreased intensity for at least a week. So the body becomes acclimatized to the heat. You can increase the exercise intensity gradually.
Water intake should be carefully monitored and encouraged for those exercising in the heat. Unlimited access to cold water should be available at all times. Fluid consumption should occur before, during, and after activity. During exercise, you have to plan frequent water breaks. Water is usually the best choice for fluid replacement. Try to avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
Monitor Weight Loss
Check your body weight before and after each exercise session on hot and humid days. Most of the body weight lost during exercise in the heat is water weight. It should be replaced the next day through proper diet and fluid replacement. A loss of 3-5% of body weight can reduce blood volume and lead to a health threat.
Lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothing should be worn while exercising in the heat. Shorts and short-sleeved shirts should be worn. Avoid exercising in heat producing garments (sweatshirts, rubber suits, etc).
Monitor Temperature and Humidity
Check the environmental temperature and humidity (heat index) during exercise sessions or sporting events. If the heat index reaches dangerous levels, you need to modifie your activities. Try moving activities to early morning or late evening when the temperature and humidity are lower.
Heat illness is a serious health concern that can lead to permanent disability and, sometimes, death. Anyone is susceptible to heat illness; however, elderly, overweight, and unacclimatized individuals should be monitored closely. Any incident of heat related illness should be referred to a physician immediately.
Drs. Christiaan Janssens
CRO Akwa Wellness