Keep Your Fitness Cool: Exercising in the Heat
Try these tips to work out safely when it's hot outside
Hydration Not the Whole Answer continued...
To determine your sweat rate, weigh yourself nude before your workout, then
towel down and weigh again. The difference in ounces is the fluid you lost.
"Replace that, not twice that," Roberts says. "Too much fluid can
be bad, too."
McCauley, on the other hand, recommends drinking a quart before running or
exercising outside, and a quart after. "Drink even if you are not
thirsty," she says.
What about salt tablets? "They got a bad rep because they were thought
to contribute to high blood pressure," Roberts explains. However, he still
recommends augmenting with salt. "You know when you first exercise and the
sweat drips in your eyes and it stings?" he asks. "Well, after two or
three weeks of exercising in the heat, your salt level will go down. So I
recommend eating a few more salty foods, pretzels, potato chips, or salt your
Time and Place for Exercise
How can one exercise smarter?
- Run only between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., McCauley says. That's when traffic is
lightest and air quality the best. Sucking in poison to overload your already
taxed system is not a good idea. Pollution of over 0.15 parts per million
usually warrants an advisory -- so be advised! Be especially careful in cities
with the worst ozone pollution. For 2003, according to the American Lung
Association, they are (in order) Los Angeles; Fresno, Calif.; Bakersfield,
Calif.; Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, Calif.; Houston; Sacramento, Calif.;
Merced, Calif.; Atlanta; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Charlotte, N.C.
- Wear light-colored, loose, absorbent clothing (lose the Spandex or even
cotton, which can stay wet).
- Don't engage in strenuous workouts, even in a heated pool (you can get
overheated and dehydrated in water.)
- Carry a frozen water bottle in the back of your shorts (feels good,
- Seek shaded pathways.
- Exercise moderately -- 60% to 70% of maximum heart rate. Take breaks.
- Drink a couple of cups of room temperature water before leaving and more
when returning. In between, slug back a cup or two every 20 minutes.
- When it's over 90 degrees, hit the gym instead.
What to Do If the Heat Gets You
Despite all your care, what if the heat sneaks up on you or a companion
You need to cool off fast! "I toss my athletes in ice water," says
Roberts. Cool, wet cloths, sips of water, shade, and if the person is still
fire-hot or raving and incoherent, call the paramedics. "The idea is to
lower the temperature as quickly as possible to stop the cooking process,"
Roberts says. "Temperature vs. time."
The best thing, however, is to prevent trouble. "I still see people in
dark clothes running along a roadway during evening rush hour," McCauley
says with a sigh.
"You can't get some people to do anything smart," Roberts says.