We're experiencing quite a bit of heat and humidity in south-central Ontario, so I wanted to share a few key tips on how to stay safe.
Many of us will continue to enjoy the outdoors despite the weather, and I know lots of you will still be training too! I know I went for a run this morning, and had to use some of the tips I'm about to share.
The biggest piece of heat safety that you have control over is your hydration status. Dehydration can quickly lead to heat-related illness in this type of weather. Our body has a natural cooling mechanism - sweat! Sweat works by cooling the body as it evaporates. The problem in this weather (when it's hot AND humid) is that sweat doesn't really evaporate, so we don't really cool off. So then we sweat more...so now we're losing body fluid and still increasing our core temperature - and that can have serious health consequences.
Top Ten Tips:
#1. Drink lots of water before, during and after your training
#2. Replace electrolytes - especially sodium
#3. Understand your fluid needs (check out my Hydration Decoder™)
- replace and replenish appropriately
#4. Shorten your training session
#5. Reduce the intensity of your training
#6. Plan your routes in shorter loops so that you can bail if you need to
#7. Go early in the morning when it's a bit cooler (although there might not be much relief in the next few days)
#8. Take frequent breaks (bonus if you can get out of the sun!)
#9. Plan cooling stops along your route (I like schedule in a splash pad stop, or run through my neighbours' sprinklers!)
#10. Watch for signs of dehydration and heat-related illness in yourself and others (headaches, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, thirst, confusion, nausea, pale skin, heavy sweating or no sweat at all, dark urine or not urinating, etc)
I went for a run this morning because my body was craving it. Here's how I modified it to stay safe:
- I ran slower than normal
- I took more walking breaks than normal
- I ran shorter loops around my house where I could stop to drink water (and to pour some over my head and neck to cool down!)
- I drank lots of water after, and added in some electrolytes
- I stopped after 80% of my planned session, because my body told me to
Dr. Tracey Teasdale, ND, CISSN