Many of us relish the intense, energizing feeling that comes with exercise, but we fail to think about the dangers of overheating, particularly during high-intensity exercises. While it is normal and natural for body temperature to rise when we work out, exercise requires basic attention to safety and good practice.
Overheating—also known as hyperthermia, heat exhaustion or heat stroke —is most likely to occur during very strenuous exercise or when a person exercises in extremely hot weather. Symptoms of hyperthermia, such as headache, nausea, exhaustion and dizziness, can range from mild to severe.
A person with heat exhaustion might also run a temperature above 103° F, even though he or she may describe feeling cold. If this occurs, seek immediate medical attention because the condition is life threatening. For milder forms of overheating, taking a cool bath, sponge bath or shower; resting in a cool area; and drinking suffcient fluids can bring down the person’s body temperature and get him or her back to feeling normal.
The following precautions can help avoid heat problems during exercise:
- wear lightweight clothing , especially if it is hot and humid outside;
- avoid running or other forms of intense exercise under full sun , particularly during midday hours;
- exercise in the cooler evening hours ;
- take regular breaks and drink plenty of fluids ;
- avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks ;
- drink an electrolyte beverage ; and
- do not push yourself too hard.
Of course, your best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Talk to us about an exercise routine that will keep you hydrated and cool while still allowing you to reach your health goals.