Just like most things in life, timing is everything, and it seems like the right time to remind all off my fitness friends about being extra careful when it comes to staying fit during the final dog days of this hot summer. The first thing that comes to mind is to remind everyone to continue taking a proactive approach to prevent dehydration during hotter seasons, as well as year round, for good health and performance!

Just like most things in life, timing is everything, and it seems like the right time to remind all off my fitness friends about being extra careful when it comes to staying fit during the final dog days of this hot summer. The first thing that comes to mind is to remind everyone to continue taking a proactive approach to prevent dehydration during hotter seasons, as well as year round, for good health and performance! 

Please start your day with a large glass of water. Make it a priority to have a daily water plan in place that will make consumption of your minimum 64-96 ounces of water a convenience. Healthy sports drinks with very little sugar will certainly aid to keep you cool, hydrated, strong, and energetic. Keeping chilled bottled water with you, in a small ice chest at work, or in your car works great. Also monitor your alcohol consumption as it decreases the livers output of glucose and dehydrates the body.

Simply avoid or at least limit your time spent in the heat. Under these conditions it becomes more important to plan and be selective if you are going to walk, jog, or run outdoors. If you really enjoy your outdoor training sessions, avoid doing your cardio in the middle of the afternoon if at all possible, as temperatures will be at their highest extremes. Instead find a time early morning or late evening before it gets dark. Choosing light colored clothing instead of darker colors will help keep you cool as well.

As the sun tries so desperately to zap your energy each day, please make sure not to let your body become deficient in valuable vitamins and minerals that keep the body strong. Antioxidants aid in keeping the cardiovascular system strong, while minerals like potassium and magnesium provide excellent support for normal muscle operation and prevention of cramps. Green leafy vegetables, bananas, citrus fruits, seafood, and quality nutrition supplements are good sources for these as well.

Taking precautions is important because illness caused by heat stress can strike anyone regardless of fitness level. If the environment is hot and your exercise results in profuse sweating, heat illness can progress quickly from heat cramps to heat exhaustion, to heat stroke, and even death. Extreme water loss is dangerous. It is absoluely a must, that you keep yourself and family properly hydrated at all times!  When training in warm temperatures, it is a good idea to slowly and progressively get used to heat and humidity by adjusting your intensity and times over a couple of weeks or longer if necessary. No workout is so important that an extra day of rest can not be inserted when it is felt that a health risk may be present.

Heat cramps are muscle spasms caused by exertion in extreme heat. Typically local pressure, massage, and ice will assist you here.

Heat exhaustion happens when you continue to exercise through heat cramps and can cause you to lose consciousness. Some symptoms to watch out for are abnormal sweating, pale, cold, or clammy skin, elevated body temperature, weakness, dizziness, headache, and nausea. If this is suspected it is a good idea to discontinue exercise, find a well ventilated place, drink fluids, and refer with your physician.

Heat Stroke is the final stage of heat exhaustion, and this is where your thermoregulatory system shuts down, to conserve fluids. By this time sweating has stopped, skin is hot and dry, breathing may be difficult, and body temperature may soar well above 100 degrees. This is very serious, may cause permanent damage, and warrants an immediate professional medical emergency and attention. Every attempt should be made to never exercise to a level that causes this to happen.

Remember a strong fitness program is definitely one that is safe and allows you to continue training day after day so improvements to flexibility, cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength, and muscular endurance can actually be made.

Hopefully this week’s dose of fitness serves as a good reminder of the seriousness of heat illness, and provides a few tools you can incorporate into your program that will prevent the heat from getting between you and your fitness goals.

Until next week please go out and make it a nutritious and healthy day!  For more information on getting started with healthy weight loss, wellness, energy, sports performance nutrition products stop by Reggie’s Personal Training and Nutrition, 104 E. Main, Downtown Shawnee, or contact Reggie by phone @ (405) 613-0237.  Ask about the 24 day challenge nutrition bundle that jumpstarts weight loss, improves health, active energy, and helps tone you up!