Heat exhaustion can happen to any level of athlete or individual when performing fitness activities outside in the heat. The higher the temperature and humidity, the more precautions you need to take in order to prevent heat exhaustion. Here are some tips to use during your summer workouts:
1. Be sure to drink extra fluids. Heat exhaustion can also start from dehydration. Monitoring your fluids and taking in extra water can help prevent dehydration. If you have not been able to use the restroom in a couple of hours while performing vigorous outdoor activities, like boot camp, you most likely are not drinking enough. You can also look at the color of your urine to determine levels of dehydration. If the color is very dark, you are not getting enough fluids.
2. Be sure to take in salt and potassium to prevent an imbalance of electrolytes lost in sweat. Heat exhaustion is not only brought on by dehydration, but also a loss of salt and electrolytes. Drinking a sports drink with electrolytes is the best way to replenish these during your workouts. There are many different types of sports drinks out there to choose from. Any personal trainer or coach with a nutrition specialist certification can help you determine which types of sports drinks are best for you.
3. Wear loose clothing. Wearing clothing that is tight or fitted can increase your body temperature. Looser fitted clothing allows you to stay cooler in warmer temperatures.
4. Wear light colored clothing. Darker colors attract heat and can trap it against your skin. Lighter colors can help reflect the heat to keep you cooler.
5. Wear hats and sunblock. Any type of gear that will help keep the sun off of you will naturally help cool your body, even if it is just a couple degrees difference.
6. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Being able to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion are beneficial so you know when to seek shelter before the symptoms get worse. If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, nauseous, have cramping, fatigue, confusion, or start to vomit, you are in the red zone for heat exhaustion. Get out of the heat immediately and move to an air-conditioned location to cool off. If you are unable to get out of the heat, you can take wet sponges and cool your body temperature down with a cold sponge bath under the arms.
These are good personal training tools for any coach or instructor that wants to start a training business for outdoor athletics. Be sure to check with your doctor before trying new exercises outdoors if you have concerns about heat exhaustion.
Older adults and young children are at higher risk for heat exhaustion. Baby Boomer exercise classes need to take that into consideration. There are also certain medications, such as stimulants, that can affect your body’s regulation of heat. Taking extra precautions in the summer can help prevent heat-related problems.
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