Thursday, June 9, 2011

Baby It's Hot Outside!

  Well the HOT weather is finally here, and it seems we've gone from winter to mid summer without any spring! AHHH gotta love Chicago! And although you might be glad about the change, it actually takes about 10-14 days of exercising in hot weather for your body to get acclimated. Studies have shown that when the temperature rises above 65 degrees, your heart rate will also rise by about 10 beats per minute. If the humidity is also high, add another 10 or so beats to that number. What does that mean to you? It means that your normal level of intensity might feel harder to achieve once the temperature starts to rise. It also means that your body can be compromised if you don't take the right precautions.

    So before you head outside on your next run or walk here are some tips to keep you safe outdoors this summer....

1.Go out to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening when it is the coolest. Usually early morning is the best time to go when the weather is going to be extremely hot. Find a shady path to run on.

2. Run slower than normal. Don't worry about hitting your regular speed when the weather is hot. You are still working hard when you slow down on hot days.

3 Drink before, during and after your run!. An hour or two before your run drink 16 ounces of water or sports drink. Then take a few sips every 15 to 20 minutes during the run. A convenient way to do this is to wear a hydration belt. (Click here to see my favorite one). There are alot of them on the market, you should try different ones on to see which feels the most comfortable for you.  When its hot or when you are running for more than an hour, drink a sports drink instead of water. Sports drinks such as Gatorade will help to replace potassium, salt and other electrolytes which are critical  to stave off cramps, nausea, and hyponatremia. (a dangerous condition caused by drinking too much water)  After your run, drink between 16 and 24 ounces of a sports drink for every pound of body weight you lost during exercise. If you are unsure how much you should drink, weigh yourself naked before you run, then do the same when you get back. If you haven't lost any weight, still drink about 16 ounces to ensure that you are adequately hydrated.

4.Snack on salty foods when the weather is very warm and you will be exercising.

5.Wear synthetic fabrics in light colors that wick sweat away from your body and feel light and cool. Do not wear cotton.
Click here for my favorite Nike Dri Fit Running Tank
Click here to see my favorite running shorts

6. Limit caffeine to about 2 cups of coffee a day so you won't get dehydrated.

7. Spray yourself with cool water when you run. You can do this by carrying one bottle of just water on your hydration belt.

8. Don't wear a hat because it traps the heat in your body. Instead wear sports sunglasses or a visor if you want to shade your eyes. And don't forget the sunscreen!

9. Apply ice to the back of your neck when you are done to help you cool off.

10. Listen to your body. Early signs and symptoms of heat illness include fatigue, discomfort, lightheadedness, cessation of sweating, disorientation and nausea. Stop exercising and find a cool environment as quickly as possible if you begin to notice any of these signs or symptoms while exercising in the heat. If you are feeling bad, get help.

11. Know when to take the day off!!  This may be the hardest tip to follow but the most important piece of advice I can give you.
   A young man tragically died this weekend during the Chicago Half Marathon, from the heat. It was a shocking reminder that even very well conditioned athletes, can succumb to the heat.
  So remember, there will be some days that are just too hot to go out and run. Instead run inside on a treadmill, run laps in a pool, strength train, cross train or just take a day off. It's better to miss a day or two of running then to put your life at risk.

  Let me know if you have any other hot weather running tips!

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