How to Avoid Heat Stress While Exercising

Heat stress occurs when the body can't cool itself by sweating, either because you are dehydrated or because you are in a humid environment that prevents sweat from evaporating. The condition can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat-related syncope (fainting) and heatstroke, which can be deadly. Heat stress is a risk for people who work in hot or humid environments, but it can also strike those who are exercising or just outdoors having fun.


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    Drink plenty of water at regular intervals even if you don't feel thirsty. Your body loses water through sweat at a rate that isn't matched by thirst. If you're engaged in a long exercise session, add a sports drink to replace the salt that's lost when you sweat. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks.
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    Avoid the hottest part of the day by exercising in the mornings or late afternoons. If you can't alter your schedule, reduce the intensity and duration of you exercise session or find an indoor location to exercise in.
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    Wear light-colored clothing made of material designed to allow sweat to evaporate from your skin. If your clothes become sweat-soaked, change into dry clothes. Wet clothes interfere with your body's ability to cool itself by clinging to your skin. Wet clothes on skin also causes heat rash.
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    Acclimate yourself to a new environment by limiting your exercise sessions at first. If you are beginning an outdoor exercise program, or if you have traveled to a location where the weather is hotter and more humid, take frequent water breaks and slowly work up to your usual schedule.
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    Stop exercising, move to a shady or cool location and drink some water if you experience symptoms of heat-related illness. Heat-related illness can progress rapidly to heatstroke if you don't take steps to cool off and rehydrate. You are probably experiencing heat stress if:
    • You notice that you've stopped sweating or are sweating heavily.
    • You're having muscle cramps.
    • Your face is becoming hot or flushed.
    • You notice that your heart rate is too high for your level of exertion.
    • You're panting.
    • Your vision is blurred.
    • You feel exhausted or faint, and are confused, clumsy, disoriented or irritable; in which case, seek immediate medical attention.
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    Go to the emergency room, preferably via ambulance, if you suffer from heatstroke. Heatstroke is life-threatening, and victims should be cooled down as quickly as possible.
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    Symptoms of heatstroke include high body temperature; the absence of sweating; hot, flushed dry skin; rapid pulse; difficulty breathing; strange behavior; disorientation, and seizures.


  • You may want to weigh yourself before and after your exercise session. If you weigh less after exercising, you haven't drunk enough water.


  • Reconsider outdoor exercise if you have medical conditions. If you are elderly, obese, suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure, or if you take certain medications such as for depression, insomnia or poor circulation, you are more susceptible to heat stress.

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Categories: Cardio Exercises