Sizzling summer workout

Sizzling summer workout

Exercising outdoors can be a great alternative to a sweaty gym but be careful on those hot summer days

During strenuous activity, a person's body can generate 15 to 20 times the amount of heat it normally produces. Add high outdoor temperatures and skyrocketing humidity, which slows the evaporation of sweat, and the combination could be deadly.

"The heart works two to four times harder to move blood into the vessels, which dilate as the body heats up," said Dr. Janice Zimmerman, professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. "Exercising in the heat places extra stress on the heart and this can be especially dangerous for those with cardiac conditions."

Exercising in hot weather has also been shown to be less effective. Excessive heat keeps workouts from reaching maximum intensity, which results in less conditioning of the muscles. Overheated tissues are also at greater risk of injury. Pushing the body too far in extremely hot and humid conditions can lead to cramps, heat exhaustion, heart attack or stroke.

One of the most important tips to remember when taking a workout outdoors is to remain adequately hydrated. Exercisers should drink plenty of water and avoid drinks containing alcohol and caffeine.

A good rule of thumb is to drink more water than you think you will need. Most people, underestimate their body's needs.

To keep your summer workouts safe:

  • Limiting activity between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the hottest part of the day.
  • Avoiding or limiting exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Wearing light-coloured clothes, which reflect heat more efficiently.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids, before and during the workout.
  • Rising temperatures, however, do not necessarily mean sidelining lunchtime workouts. Decreasing the intensity level or the number of miles being logged can help.

Also, slowly exposing the body to the heat will allow it to adjust. In time, circulation improves, the pulse slows down and sweat glands work overtime to lower the body's temperature. The key, is patience.

Begin exercising in the evening or early morning and slowly build up to the middle of the day.

Check out iBodz Rookie Mike's Holiday Workout Program, devised by the professionalas at Team iBodz.

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