As I’m writing this it’s a wonderful 22°C outside. The British weather is rarely consistent but stranger things have happened, so there’s always a possibility we’re in for a hot summer… Alternatively, you may be heading off for a guaranteed sunny holiday. Either way, if you’re going to be exercising in the heat, there are a few things to be aware of and precautions you can take to stay well.

Symptoms of over heating

Exercise-induced, heat-related illness may present as heat cramps, heat syncope, heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Signs you may be suffering from any of these conditions include: cramps, dizziness, light headedness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, headache, confusion, increased heart rate and visual problems. If you have any of these symptoms you must stop exercising immediately, lower your body temperature with cool water, wet towels or a fan, and get hydrated. Have someone stay with you to monitor your condition, if possible. If you don’t feel better within 20 minutes, seek emergency, medical attention.

Tips to avoid over heating

Heat-related illnesses are preventable if you take some extra precautions. To stay healthy in the heat whilst exercising, follow these tips:  

  1. Do your exercise in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.
  2. Drink plenty of water to help your body sweat and keep cool.
  3. If you have exercised intensely, drinking an isotonic drink will replace sodium, chloride and potassium lost through sweating.
  4. Choose a cool type of exercise, such as swimming.
  5. Wear lightweight, loose clothing and a hat.
  6. Protect your skin with sunscreen. Apart from the increased risk of skin cancer, sunburn decreases the body’s ability to cool itself.
  7. Understand your medical risks. Certain conditions or medications can increase your risk of a heat-related illness. Talk this over with your doctor or pharmacist.

Over heating whilst exercising is preventable. By taking some simple precautions, your exercise routine needn’t be side-lined when the heat is on.