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Preparing for exercise in hot weather – Michael Yorio MD

By General Info

Weekend warriors of all ages continue their crusades into the hot and humid months of the summer, when the risks of developing a heat-related illness is at its highest. “Serious heat illness,” explains Michael Yorio, M.D., assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Orthopaedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, “is more likely to strike children, individuals who are out of shape, over weight, or have had a previous heat illness.”

Under normal conditions our bodies do a very good job of dumping excess heat and maintaining a normal body temperature. On hot, humid days the body loses its ability to cool itself, which can be dangerous. Athletes who are not used to exercising in the heat can’t adjust as efficiently as those who have adapted to the warmer temperatures. The key to exercising in warm or hot weather is to know how to manage your exercise program and adjust your workout to the conditions of the environment. Here are some tips to remember when exercising during the dog days of summer:

Drink plenty of cool water or sports drinks during exercise.

The sunlight is an external source of heat. Choose light-colored, lightweight clothing instead of dark clothing that absorbs more heat from sunlight.

Don’t exercise when sick.

Avoid the peak sunlight hours and watch out when the heat index is high. Learn to acclimatize yourself to the heat gradually before exerting yourself.

Ask your doctor about exercise in the heat, if you have any medical conditions or are on any medications or supplements prior to exercising on a hot day. Certain drugs and supplements can be a problem in the heat. Some medical conditions present trouble when it is hot outside.

Be cautious about consumption of alcohol and caffeine, you’ll wind up losing more fluid than you take in.

If you are feeling the effects from the heat, cramping, fatigue, or dizziness sit in a cool and shady area, drink cool beverages, remove sweat-drenched clothing if possible, and use a cool towel on your head or back of neck.

For more information about heat-related illness or sports related injuries call 410-448-6400.