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Maximize your workout during the heat

It is now the first week of August and we are feeling the effects of summer. Heat strokes and exhaustions are common this time of year and we must remind ourselves of ways to avoid this from happening. Your workouts don’t stop because of the heat, so what are the 3 things you want to keep in mind to maximize your workout.

First, is hydration. I cannot stress this enough. I’m sure you know that it’s recommended to drink 8 cups of water. But, are you really measuring? No. When I ask people how many cups of water they are drinking, the answer is 8 cups, as if that is the automatic answer. When I ask them face to face, then the truth comes out. “Kei, I haven’t been drinking much water.” Well, that has to change when it’s hot. When the heat rises, you want to make sure you drink more than usual. I recommend getting a large water bottle to make it easy to track how much water you have consumed. I use a 40-ounce Hydroflask and make sure to drink 3 of those a day. However, water can only do so much which leads me to my next point.

Make sure your sodium intake is adequate. “Kei, I thought sodium was bad for you?” Well, having too much is bad. On the other hand, having too little is bad. Because sodium is associated with high blood pressure, this has led people to eat a diet really low in sodium. When people sweat, they lose sodium through perspiration and this leads to a condition called hyponatremia. Some of the symptoms include weakness, dizziness, muscle cramps, confusion, etc. The daily RDA (recommended dietary allowance) is 2300 mg. So if you eat a diet low in sodium, make sure you have snacks or a sports drink to supplement.

Lastly, you have to build your tolerance to heat. I grew up in the Inland Empire where it is over 100 degrees during summer. This is the condition where I ran, played basketball, played soccer, and walked around in so the heat doesn’t bother me much. On the other hand, if you grew up near the ocean and are accustomed to the 60-70s, then you will be more sensitive to heat. Don’t jump to exercising for 3 hours right away under the sun. Build your tolerance by going for a walk for 15-30 minutes and see how your body handles it.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed. Kei

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