Getting overheated while working out can really ruin your day, maybe your life. That sounds dramatic, but it's something to think about when temperatures climb.
How do you know when you're getting overheated?
Overheating - or thermal strain - feels exhausting. You may be going your usual pace or even slower than normal but you have some or all of these symptoms:
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps
- Heavy sweating
- Feeling Faint
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Muscle cramps
- You feel like you are working harder than expected
If you experience any of these symptoms, especially together, you should stop exercising, move to the shade, and get into a cool bath or hose off with cool water to lower your core temperature. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention.
Tolerating heat better comes from being able to dissipate heat efficiently - sweating more and sooner during exercise. While fit people tend to sweat more, they lose fewer electrolytes. As sweat evaporates, you maintain a better core temperature. We are lucky in Colorado, because our dry climate allows evaporation and thus cooling to occur more easily.
Avoiding heat exhaustion is possible; we can all acclimate to warm weather exercise over time, so working out in the spring, as temperatures gradually rise, is smart. And if you already exercise regularly, you're ahead of the game, because you have a better tolerance for the heat if you're physically fit.