Training in the dog days of August!
Ok, so it’s hot, but you still want to get your ride in or your run on! Understanding how the body cools itself down may help with your nutrition and recovery choices. When you start exercising, your heart rate goes up and your working muscles and organs start producing heat. The body brings blood to the skin’s surface where the heat is dispersed. You start to feel hot. Then the heat starts to condense on the skin and that produces sweat! The sweat evaporates and takes the heat with it!
When the body sweats, it also depletes vital minerals and nutrients needed to keep you feeling good and performing well. If you are exercising longer than one hour, consider an electrolyte replacement. See Gina Grant’s post on July 30 titled “Sports Drinks Versus Energy Drinks”. Great information!
Don’t forget to weigh yourself pre and post workout. If you have lost more than a pound, you may be dehydrated, or close to it. The basic rule of thumb for rehydration is for every pound lost, replace with half a liter of water.
Keep an eye out for signs of overheating. They include nausea, mental fatigue, dry mouth, chills or vomiting. The first stage is known as heat fatigue and occurs because the body cannot get rid of its own heat fast enough. If you do not cool the body down quickly, the next stage is heat exhaustion and ultimately heat stroke.
When signs and symptoms occur, stop exercising and find shade and water. Use wet towels or clothes to cool the skin. Some of the most effective areas to apply wet towels are the top of the head and back of the neck. Lay down and elevate the feet. Drink water and or sport drinks, include GU’s and blocks.
Never ride alone and plan your route around rest stops that will have water and shade. Always carry your phone and give yourself permission to slow down or shorten the ride!
Have fun and stay safe!