Is it Safe to Exercise in Heat and Humidity?

Finally it’s that time of year again.  I promise not to complain about the heat and humidity.  All I need to do is think about all the snow that was piled up behind the gym and I feel cool even while I’m sweating.

Is it safe to exercise out doors in heat and humidity or indoors without air conditioning during hot and humid days?  The simple answer is no.  However if you follow some guide lines you can be safer.  First of all if you have access to an climate controlled,air conditioned gym (Midtown) you can be sure it  will be safe.  However if you opt to exercise during this type of weather either outdoors or inside where it is not air conditioned you should follow some simple rules.

First some general information.  When your body gets overheated,its natural response is to sweat.  When that sweat evaporates off your skin, it lowers your body temperature.  If the temp. or humidity is sky high this built-in cooling system can beak down.  Sweat doesn’t evaporate properly and your skin doesn’t release body heat effectively.  You can become light headed, dizzy, nauseous,  fatigued, and have muscle cramps.  All are signs of heat exhaustion which can  turn into heat stroke.   Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your cardiovascular system. Both the exercise itself and the heat increase your body temperature.  More blood circulates through your skin leaving less blood for your muscles, which increases heart rate.  Added humidity gives more stress with the sweat not being able to evaporate which pushes body temperature even higher. Under normal conditions or in air conditioning your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat.

If you still choose to exercise outdoors or not in an air-conditioned gym:

  1. Exercise during the cooler early morning or later evening hours
  2. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the workout to prevent dehydration
  3. Dress in loose fitting, light colored, light weight clothes
  4. When air temperature exceeds 80 degrees and the humidity exceeds 50 percent you are at risk
  5. The body takes 7-14 days to adjust to hot weather, so gradually increase your exercise time
  6. If you see sign that you are putting your health at risk take your workout indoors where it is climate controlled

Exercise Safely……….

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