10 Tips for Staying Cool During Hot Workouts
As summer temperatures soar in Texas, staying active can be challenging, especially when engaging in outdoor workouts.
While physical activity is essential for our well-being, exercising caution and staying cool during hot workouts is crucial to prevent heat-related illnesses. One of the trending reasons to go to the emergency room during this particularly hot Summer has been due to heat-related emergencies. For this reason, at Angleton ER, we bring you 10 Tips for Staying Cool During Hot Workouts to help you avoid a medical emergency.
At Angleton ER, we believe that it’s our responsibility as part of the medical community to create awareness about heat-related emergencies to help safeguard the lovely Texas communities that we serve.
The Dangers of Heat Emergencies
Exercising in the heat can lead to serious heat-related emergencies, such as from heat cramps and heat exhaustion to the life-threatening condition known as heatstroke.
These conditions occur when the body’s core temperature rises to dangerous levels, overwhelming its ability to cool down through sweating and other mechanisms.
What Happens to Your Body When Exercising in the Heat?
When you exercise, your muscles generate heat, triggering your body’s natural cooling mechanisms, like sweating, which work to maintain a stable core temperature.
However, in hot and humid conditions, these mechanisms can become overwhelmed, leading to increased risks, including:
Dehydration: Sweating causes fluid loss, leading to dehydration. Dehydration impairs your body’s ability to cool itself and increases the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Electrolyte Imbalance: Sweat also contains essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride. An imbalance in these electrolytes can disrupt nerve and muscle function, leading to cramps and other issues.
Increased Heart Rate: Exercising in the heat elevates your heart rate as your body tries to circulate blood to your skin to release heat. This can put additional stress on your cardiovascular system.
Expert Tips for Exercising in Hot Weather
When working outside, you should always wear water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent sunburns. Remember to reapply frequently and also incorporate these expert tips into your routine.
Time Your Workouts Wisely
Plan your workouts during the cooler parts of the day. Early mornings and late evenings typically offer lower temperatures, reducing the risk of overheating during exercise.
Avoid midday workouts when the sun is at its peak.
Proper hydration is key to staying cool and preventing heat-related issues. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
In Texas’s hot climate, you may need to drink more water than usual, so carry a reusable water bottle and take sips regularly.
The CDC recommends drinking eight ounces (1 cup) of water every 15-20 minutes when working in the heat. Drinking small amounts at shorter intervals is best, but be careful not to exceed 48 ounces of water in one hour, as this may cause a medical emergency due to a low concentration of salt and other minerals in your blood.
Choose lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking fabrics for your workout attire. Light-colored clothing can also reflect the sun’s rays and keep you cooler during outdoor activities.
If you’re exercising outdoors, look for shaded areas or routes that provide relief from direct sunlight. Parks with trees, covered pavilions, or trails with shaded sections are excellent choices.
Modify Intensity and Duration
Consider adjusting the intensity and duration of your workouts on extremely hot days. Shorten your exercise sessions or choose less demanding activities to reduce the risk of overheating.
Utilize Cooling Accessories
Incorporate cooling accessories into your workout routine. A damp towel or bandana around your neck, a cooling towel on your forehead, or a handheld fan can quickly relieve the heat.
Listen to Your Body
Pay close attention to how your body feels during exercise. If you experience dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, or lightheadedness, stop your workout immediately, hydrate, and seek a cooler environment.
Seek Indoor Alternatives
Consider indoor workouts at air-conditioned gyms or fitness centers when the Texas heat becomes unbearable. You can still achieve an effective workout without compromising your health.
Work out with a friend or join a fitness group. A workout buddy can help keep each other accountable for taking breaks and staying hydrated during hot workouts.
Monitor Weather Conditions
Stay informed about weather forecasts before heading out for your workout. Be cautious of high humidity and extreme heat warnings, and consider rescheduling or moving your exercise indoors when necessary.
Warning Signs – When to Go to the ER
Despite taking precautions, heat-related illnesses can still occur. It’s essential to recognize the warning signs and seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms during or after a workout:
- Throbbing headache
- Confusion or disorientation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Rapid and weak pulse
- Muscle cramps
- Profuse sweating or absence of sweating
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
If you or someone else exhibits these warning signs, you must seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Heat-related illnesses can progress rapidly and be life-threatening, especially in the Texas heat.
During this relentless heatwave, you can count on Supreme Care ER to be there to treat any heat-related illness and restore you to health.
At Angleton ER, we urge the members of our Texas communities to stay indoors in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. If you need to be outside, please always carry a water bottle with you to help you stay hydrated. Remember that there is no need to ever have a doubt, should you be near 1116 E Mulberry Street in Angleton, Texas, you always have the option of dropping by for a free medical screening 24/7 including all holidays.
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