Exercising in heat

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
Summer time! Tips on exercising in heat.

How does heat effect the body?

During a workout, core temperature rises and the body is being put under stress. This is a natural and desirable process if you're looking for training results. If the amount of training stress and the recovery after are in balance, health and fitness will improve over time.

Working out in heat and humidity adds extra stress to the body. It leads to a higher core temperature and a higher heart rate. To cool down, the body sends blood to the skin. More blood to the skin means less blood and therefor less oxygen for the muscles to function under stress (the heart is also a muscle).

Sweating is also a way for the body to cool down. But because the environmental temperature is high, the sweat cannot evaporate. This leads to an extra increase in core temperature, and the risk of dehydration of the body in case of excessive ungoing sweating. (Why you need a hydration plan)

Working out in heat increases the risk of a heat injury.

Symptoms of heat injury

- being thristy

- muscle cramps

- dizziness, headache or fainting

- feeling sleepy, fatigue or weak

- nausea or vomiting

- excessive sweating

- increased heart rate and low blood pressure

- muscle cramps and muscle and joint injuries

- urinary and kidney problems

- heat stroke

What to do in this case

1. Stop exercising immediately. Do what feels good to recover and to get your heart rate down

2. Get out of the heat, take off your clothes if necessary

3. Hydrate with whatever is available, water, a sportsdrink

4. If you don’t feel better after 20 minutes, consult a doctor

Tips to workout in heat

1. Plan your workout based on the outdoor temperature. Don’t go out for a run at noon.

2. Wear light and loose- fitting clothes

3. Try to get acclimated to the heat. If you spend all day in airconditioning, take your time to get acclimated to the outdoor temperature

4. Reduce the intensity of your workout and judge by feel, not by what’s on the whiteboard or on your app. The heat and humidity put extra stress on your body

5. Hydrate, all day long. If you feel thirsty or your pee is yellow, you’re already dehydrated

6. Eat regularly: Water rich veggies, fruit, protein, whole wheat products. Avoid sugar, alcohol and salt

7. Relax, chill, go with the flow!

Create your own health!©