Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Heat Wave

Much of the country is currently in the midst of a summer heatwave, when the mercury rises on the thermometer (do they even make thermometers with mercury in them anymore?) you need to make sure you are keeping yourself cool.  It's important to stay hydrated and really listen to your body in the heat to avoid injury and to avoid heat related illness - you don't want to sideline your performance or your weekend plans because you didn't take care of yourself in the heat.

Its especially important to take care of yourself if you've decided that you're going to continue working out in the heat - especially to all of the people that are running outside and doing Crossfit it's important that you know what heat related illnesses can feel like so if you start to feel any of the warning signs you can dial back your training or your workout.  Just because it's hot doesn't mean stop training, but it does mean train smarter and make sure you're prepared by hydrating throughout the day and staying in tune with your body.

What can you do to prevent the heat related illnesses?  Here are a few tips, this is by no means a comprehensive list, but simply a few things to think about over the next few heat filled days.

1. Stay hydrated - drink lots of water and if you're exercising make sure you replace electrolytes that you're losing.  You can do this without Gatorade (gasp) through Coconut Water - I recommend VitaCoco which you can get at Wegmans and Whole Foods, and through Electrolyte enhanced water available with that name at Trader Joe's or Smart Water in the grocery store.

2. Avoid things that dehydrate you - primarily watch out for caffeine and alcohol - if you are drinking either of these make sure that you're increasing your water consumption as well.

3. Avoid the direct sun and being outside during the hottest time of day (11am - 4pm) - if you're outside, seek out shade and if you can find a cool place to be during the hottest hours of the day.  Go to the movies, grocery store, or shopping mall if you don't have air conditioning at home.  If you are outside wet a towel or bandanna with cold water and drape it across the back of your neck - it will provide a nice cool feeling even if you're out in the heat.

To avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke make sure you are dialing back when you see the following signs. Signs of heat exhaustion are a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of severe weakness - if you are feeling any of these symptoms make sure you take a break, get out of the heat, and rehydrate!

Heat stroke can be fatal, it occurs when the your body can no longer regulate its temperature relating in severely elevated body temperature causes an altered mental state, dizziness and ultimately can lead to a loss of consciousness and potentially kidney failure

What are you doing to stay cool?  And how are the increased temperatures impacting your training, planning, and performance?


  1. For some more information on what to look out for, especially when exercsizing check out this article from the Huffington Post Why You Might Be Dangerously Dehydrated -

  2. One more reason to stay hydrated - this article says 6,000 ppl a year go to the ER because of dehydration.