Running or any physically taxing places stress on the body. When you further add hot weather this places even more stress on the body and makes it even harder for it to operate as it should.
The body will take steps to cool itself down and maintain its ideal temperature. The body does this by sending extra blood to circulate closer to the skin thus allowing more heat to be dispersed. This means that there is now less blood being passed through the muscles which will lead to an increased heart rate. These measures taken by the body leaves it at a higher risk of heat illness.
Of course the best way to avoid this is not to run when it’s too hot but here are some signs you should look out for:
Heat cramps most commonly occur in the calves, quads and abs. They are painful muscle contractions.
Your body temperature can reach temperatures as high as 104 degrees when you are suffering from heat exhaustion. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include weakness, clammy skin, nausea, headaches, vomiting, fainting and dizzy spells.
Your body temperature can reach temperatures in excess of 104 degrees when you are suffering from heat strokes. Symptoms include your body being hot to touch despite their being a lack of perspiration. It is critical that heat stroke is treated, if it isn’t it can lead to brain damage and in extreme cases death.
The best way to combat these potential effects is to be prepared and to avoid them in the first place. Here are our tips on staying safe when running in hot weather.
Be Prepared For the Running Conditions
You should find out what the temperature is so that you can adjust your workout if need be. You can do this by reducing the volume or changing the route of your run so that you can run in the shade .Alternatively you can change the schedule of your run so that you run in the early morning or evening when it is cooler. It is certainly not advisable to run in the early afternoon which is the hottest part of the day. Don’t be afraid of cancelling a workout session if it does get too hot, safety should always come first.
Stay Hydrated As Much As Possible
Running in hot weather increases the risk of dehydration. If you become dehydrated this will increase the risk of heat illnesses. Consider using a sports drink instead of just water so that you can also replace electrolytes that are lost in sweat. A sports drinks also contains things such as potassium, chloride and sodium.
Dress Appropriately For Hot Weather
Don’t wear dark colours and try to wear a cap that can shield you from the sun. Stick with light colours and breathable materials.
Take It Slow
As mentioned before safety comes first so don’t be afraid of cancelling a workout session. You can even consider taking your session indoors and running on a treadmill. It’s certainly not ideal but it will be much more comfortable running in an air conditioned gym than in a “desert”.