Working Out in Hot Weather
Alexa Montecillo (The Freeman) - May 21, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines – An outdoor workout session during the dog days of summer may seem like a far-fetched idea. But, actually, it can be a big fitness advantage.Pushing oneself in the summer heat could help improve performance in running, cycling, or other cardio activities.

Of course, doing workout in the open may look like unnecessary at this time, if the sole intention is to sweat it out. Staying indoor or outdoor these days doesn’t make any difference. And there’s even no need to do anything – the hot weather is enough to make anyone perspire profusely.

Some people would naturally prefer to stay indoors – in cool air-conditioned spaces, as much as possible. If they need to do workout, they do it in air-conditioned gyms. There’s no problem with that.

But others find it necessary to do their workouts in the open. This is especially so for those training for an endurance event, such as a marathon or some other type of intense outdoor event.Workouts in hot weather may actually give them a boost, so long as they observe proper precautions, according to Chris Giblin, in an article at the website training, Giblin writes, may even eclipse high-altitude training when it comes to improving one’s performance.

Giblin citesthe science behind how heat can help improve fitness levels: Researchers from the University of Oregon tracked the performance of 12 very high-level cyclists (10 males, two females) over a 10-day training period – with two days off in the middle – in 100-degree heat. Another control group did the exact same exercise regimen in a much more comfortable, 55-degree room. Both groups worked in 30 percent humidity.

Researchers discovered that the cyclists who worked through the heat improved their performance by seven percent, which a noticeable and significant amount in cycling.On the other hand, the control group did not show any improvement. What surprised researchers most was that the experimental group not only showed that they had achieved a level of heat acclimation, but the training also helped them to function better in cooler environments.

Giblin gives the ‘magic numbers’to help maximize one’s heat acclimation:

101. The number of degrees Fahrenheit needed to elevate one’s core body temperature during training sessions.

60. The number of minutes to have that elevated core temperature maintained during one’s heat training to make sure that he or she is truly getting the heat acclimation benefits.

5 to10.  The number of days one needs to train in the heat to properly heat acclimate, by going out and exercising in the heat for five to 10 days, with significant exposure at times. Caution: Warm-weather precautions must be observed to avoid overly stressing the body.

It must be kept in mind that elevating core body temperature so much can make one pass out or suffer worse consequences.Thus, one needs to know his or her limits, “to listen to their bodies.”

Giblin also shares tips for staying safe in the summer heat:

Drink up. One obviously sweats more as it gets hotter and more humid, so it’s important to replace all those fluids lost in running, cycling, or doing other workouts in extreme weather. The recommendedwater consumption a couple hours before exercising in hot temperatures is 16 to 24 ounces. Past that, one shall take in another six to eight ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise. If one is doing something moderate for less than an hour, water should be fine; but anything more intense will require sports drinks to get those carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Mind the humidity. Humidity is also a huge factor to take into account. The main way in which the body cools itself during exercise is through sweat, which hits the skin's surface and then evaporates to cool the body. In a humid environment, there is not much of that evaporative cooling effect because the environment is already pretty saturated with fluid.It helps to consider moving activity indoors on days that are extremely hot and humid, since it just makes the environment particularly stressful on the body.

Don't go overboard. One can still remain in good shape without heat acclimating. But this is true only with very fit, competitive athletes who need to be ready for weather extremes and want to get an edge. The rest are better to get their training in when the heat is on and be ready in case they’re up against 95-degree weather with high humidity at the next event. They should resist the temptation to push their body past its limits. In training, they have the chance to improve their heat acclimation and conditioning over time without pushing themselves too hard. It’s also important to wear breathable clothing and don’t go overboard on intensity during the first couple hot workouts.


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