Exercise in the Heat- Safe or Not?

It’s not only here in the US that getting people moving is an issue; an article in the Times yesterday addressed the obesity rate in Qatar and their interesting approach to offer a safe-from-the-heat means to exercise for their citizens:  mall walking.

While it might not be the most natural venue to engage in physical fitness, my take is if it gets someone off their butt and moving, I’m all for it.  

In addition, if one has to deal with temps soaring above 100 degrees on a daily basis, finding a suitable place with appropriate ambient conditions is of utmost importance.   Even more so if one is just at the beginning of their journey and may be coming from a place of less than good health.

It’s no joke that training in the heat can be a hazard.  Just last week at a half marathon I raced in, even though it began at 6:30 am and was only in the low 70s, by the time some of the finishers were completing the journey, people were already being pulled from the course due to heat exhaustion.

  • If you’re just beginning your exercise routine, do yourself and your loved ones a favor and make sure you’re all set to go in terms of having a basic health screening from your doc.   It’s not worth finding out, by the surprise of buckling over during your first lunch-time walk, that you have an elevate blood pressure which needs to be addressed (Paleo can help with this).
  • As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog- get out early!   One client in Arizona gets up before the crack up dawn before the desert’s temps begin to scorch at upwards of 90 degrees before 8 am.   Wherever you live, figure out the best ways to get out there before the sun’s blazing rays make it not an option to be outdoors.
  • Consider a gym.  Even if you don’t particularly like training indoors, the controlled climate can offer a way for you to stay on track for those days where early exercise is not an option and it’s simply far too hot to get outside.
  • On the other hand, if you’re someone who needs to train in the heat, like someone getting ready for a marathon or other race set in hot environs, build into it slowly and make sure to keep on top of your water and electrolytes.   Don’t make the mistake of just drinking tons of water and not replacing the salts you’re sweating out.   No need to ingest corn-syrup laden, dyed ‘energy’ drinks or tablets when you can take a supplement providing sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.    Coconut water may be enough for short bouts of activity but for longer, endurance training a supplement, such as Meta Salt, may be helpful.   Ease your way into it, train with a partner and allow your body to adapt safely, rather than literally risking your life by going out too long, too soon, alone.

Here is the full article