Before you head out to exercise, here are some things to keep in mind.
Exercise: Start exercising slowly and keep your session short (15-20 minutes) when you begin. Monitor your exercise heart rate often and keep your exercise intensity low so that you can stay well within your heart rate zone. Allow 10-12 days for heat acclimatisation to occur by exercising gradually in a hot environment.
Best time: Exercise in the coolest part of the day. Mornings are the best time to exercise in summer and the second best would be after sunset. If you have to exercise during the heat of the day prefer indoors or find a shaded area. When you exercise during the cooler time of the day you are less tired or irritable – you are not letting the heat to get to you – Right?
Exercise clothing: When you choose to work out at your gym, pack your bag right. Stick to cotton or linen clothes that can breathe. Cotton facilitates the evaporation of sweat more easily. Your socks have to be cotton too because you can sweat the most from your feet. Wet clothing helps to dissipate heat by evaporation better than dry clothing, so for once if you are exercising in hot humid weather stay sweat wet! Avoid heavy clothing and clothing made of rubber or plastic. Use light colour clothing during outdoor exercise.
Fluid intake: The hotter the weather the more you sweat and the loss of water is the most. Avoid heat injury by cooling your body consciously. Keep sipping more water and keep replenishing lost fluids. Make fruits and fruit juices your best friends for the season. Drink plenty of cold fluids before, during and after an exercise session.
An easier way to keep you well hydrated during exercise is to drink 200 ml of fluids 20-30 mins before an exercise session and 100-200 ml of fluids every 10-20 mins during exercise regardless of you being thirsty. After workout consume approximately 30 ml of water for every minute of exercise performed.
Those who are engaged in outdoor activities like cricket camps or sports should be aware of the following heat related issues and take adequate precaution.
Heat cramps: Cramps or muscle tightness experienced in dominant muscles such as calves and abdomen.
Heat exhaustion: Characterised by sweating profusely, but your skin will appear cool and clammy. Body temperatures will still be at normal levels.
Heat stroke: At this point the skin will turn dry and red. Sweating will stop as the body tries to conserve water. Core body temperatures of 105 degrees are possible, and this can be life threatening if left unchecked. Loss of consciousness is possible.
Nina Reddy is Director, O2 Health Studio.