To derive maximum benefits of your outdoor (or indoor) exercise it's important to stay hydrated. Let's find out what happens if you are not?
Are midlife exercisers safe to exercise in the heat? Is it enough to simply stay hydrated? What are the dangers (and solutions) for active boomers who face high temperatures and humidity? Are you thinking yet of the Poindexter song, “Hot, Hot, Hot?”
Stay Hydrated While Exercising
Summer is here. We can all go outside and run (or walk, in our case) in the heat. Possibly, where the humidity is high enough to make your body look like it’s crying. But wait, we’re not saying avoid outdoor exercise. Say no to that. We want to encourage you to go outside and be active. Of course, we always support going inside to group fitness classes, especially when the room has AC! But, stay hydrated.
Often we’ll put sunblock on, then a hat and head outside. But leave behind a water bottle because we won’t be gone long, or it’s a hassle to carry. Be well-prepared especially if you aren’t well-hydrated.
Know Where You Stand
We won’t lecture you, if you don’t take along your water bottle, but we will share some definitions and information. Then you will know if you’re in harm’s way or safe to beat the heat.
Normal hydration. Your body is taking in the same amount of fluid as it’s expending. In a hot environment, that’s about 3500 milliliters (compared to 2500 on a normal day).
A reduction of body water as the body progresses from a euhydrated to a dehydrated state.
When water losses due to sweat are not offset by water intake.
Abnormally low plasma sodium concentrations. When more fluids are consumed than are lost, excess water accumulates relative to sodium. Now, that’s not safe at all.
Exertional Heat Exhaustion
The body’s heat production exceeds its ability to dissipate heat, and core temperature rises to >104°. Symptoms can include excessive sweating, nausea, dizziness, and headache.
More severe than heat exhaustion. In addition to the above symptoms, heatstroke sufferers can also experience a gradual impairment of consciousness, difficulty concentrating, sweat-soaked, pale skin (these symptoms are different from classic heatstroke), and even death.
Hot Tips To Stay Cool
- Rather than taking sips of water over the course of your outdoor exercise, drink a larger volume all at once. You’ll stay in euhydration longer.
- If you exercise longer than 90 minutes, rehydrate with water that has electrolytes added (primarily sodium and potassium, though some sodium is reabsorbed by the sweat glands – the body sure is amazing, eh)?
- Drink water before, during, and after exercise – yes, all three.
- Before you go out, eat a small salted snack such as pretzels. As “opposite day” as that sounds, a salted snack will stimulate thirst, plus the sodium helps you retain water.
As to whether it’s better to drink cold or room temperature water, the research clearly indicates that, it doesn’t really matter. The temperature that’s most effective is the one that will induce you to drink more water.
If you find water boring, that’s no excuse to go buy sugar-laden drinks or skip the water bottle. Simple throw in a sprig of mint or rosemary, or a wedge or orange, lemon or lime, and off you go. Up hill and down dale.