How To Exercise In a Hot & Humid Climate

By Subodh / March 31, 2015

Body heat increases tremendously during exercise. The core body temperature can go up three degrees higher when exercising. Under normal circumstances, radiation, convection, conduction and evaporation enable heat from the body to sink into the surrounding air. However, as the temperature of surroundings increase, it gets difficult to lose body heat. This may lead to increase in heart rate, core and skin temperatures and sweat rate. Consequently, it may lead to collapse. Thus, precautions should be taken when exercising in hot weather.

Hot & Humid Climate

Consider following factors to understand how to exercise in hot and humid climate:

The Climate

Radiant heat and humidity should be checked prior to starting your exercise routine. This is especially true if you are going to perform strenuous exercises. WBGT (WetBulb Globe Temperature) index is commonly used to measure humidity, air and radiant temperature. One should keep in consideration the negative effects of high workouts when climatic index is more than 25 degrees Celsius.

Characteristics of the Individual

Extra supervision is required for those individuals who have low tolerance to heat. This also is true for heavier build individuals, as they have lower skin surface area and body mass ratio and this acts as a disadvantage for heat removal. Hence, such exercise enthusiasts need to be monitored carefully for symptoms of heat intolerance, especially during hot and humid climatic conditions.

Heat Acclimatization

Adjustment of body to heat is very important and is in fact quite rapid. It takes only a week to get acclimatized to heat if the person performs exercise daily for 90 minutes. Heat acclimatization helps in expanding the volume of blood, thereby enhancing the precision of sweating. It provides better circulatory stability to exerciser and also lowers skin temperature.

Clothing

One should wear light, loose fitted clothes made of open-weave natural fibres like cotton to ensure air circulation. The colour of the clothing should be light. All this ensures the body is exposed to maximum air, making way for heat removal and for sweat to easily evaporate.

Fluid Replacement

Body endurance deteriorates tremendously if fluid loss exceeds two percent of the body weight. It is important to drink water before and after exercise. The body has the tendency to produce water during exercise. Partial fluid replacement plays a vital role to bring down the chances of overheating. However, it is only important during long exercise sessions. It should be compulsory to have a drinks break during an exercise session and training.

Fluid replacement guidelines:

  1. Cool fluid at temperatures between 8 and 10° C should be consumed during exercise.
  2. The fluid taken should be absorbed properly by body and hence should be low in sugar.
  3. One should not take more than half litre water during exercise and minimum 500 ml water should be taken an hour prior to starting the exercise.
  4. It is important to keep a record of body-weight to monitor hydration.

Quick Tips

  • Drink 500 ml of water a couple of hours prior to exercise.
  • Drink the same amount of water or any protein or sport drink immediately after exercising.
  • Exercise in air conditioned places like gym during summers instead of exercising in the park.
  • In absence of air conditioning, exercise in front of a fan.
  • Body weight goes down tremendously due to dehydration. Hence, weigh yourself daily and in case you see more than 3-pound weight loss, call your doctor immediately.
  • Take breaks frequently while exercising to keep your body cool.
  • Don’t wear tight clothes for exercising as it would hinder proper air circulation.
  • Don’t exercise in direct sunlight.
  • Never exercise if you are taking salt-based tablets, as they drain water from your body.
  • Don’t drink cold water while exercising because it is difficult for the body to absorb cold water. Consume cool water instead, at room temperature.
  • Avoid drinking sodas and juices during exercise, as they contain carbohydrates that are not absorbed by body. It is best to drink plain water during exercise and to maintain proper hydration.