Exercise heating up

July 12, 2011 1:15:08 PM PDT
We want you to exercise but on days like today, it can actually be life threatening to do it outside.

But no matter what we say, people will still exercise outside.

For those of you who insist on charging forward, here's a quick look at what you need to know and how to help your body adapt.

The harder you work out in the summer sun, the harder your body works to keep cool.

Anytime the temperature soars past 80 degrees, your body is at risk. But especially if the humidity is above 50%, that's because your sweat will not evaporate.

Evaporating the sweat reduces YOUR temperature so if the body is not reducing the temperature it is going to rise up and potentially going to become life threatening.

It is possible for the body to adapt. It's called heat acclimatization training. Your heart and circulatory system become more efficient, and you sweat less. But sports medicine experts say it takes 2 weeks of disciplined and gradual training to get there.

You have to build up a resistance to working out in the heat just like you would if you would run in a marathon.

And when you hydrate, start early-- at least 2 hours before your work out.

And give yourself a break-- don't be surprised or disappointed if your performance is not at your peak.

Once your body gets used to working out in the heat, keep in mind that it doesn't last if you stop doing it--all those adaptations will disappear after a few days or weeks and you have to start over again.

Ready New York - Beat the Heat Tips:

  • Use an air conditioner if you have one.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place such as an air-conditioned family's, friend's or neighbor's home, store, mall, museum, or movie theater, or, visit a cooling center.
  • Use a fan if the air is not too hot. Fans work best at night to bring in cooler air from outside. Use a fan only when the air conditioner is on or the windows are open.
  • Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.
  • Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car.
  • Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. or in the evening. If you exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are used to regular exercise, just keep in mind the symptoms of heat illness when exercising and stop or rest if any occur.
  • Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool - sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.
  • Check on your at-risk family, friends and neighbors often and help them get to a cool place.

    Spray Caps & Fire Hydrants:

  • Opening fire hydrants without spray caps is wasteful and dangerous. Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure, which can cause problems at hospitals and other medical facilities and hinder fire-fighting by reducing the flow of water to hoses and pumps. The powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can also push children into oncoming traffic. Call 311 to report an open hydrant.
  • Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a City-approved spray cap. One illegally opened hydrant wastes up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute, while a hydrant with a spray cap only puts out around 25 gallons per minute. Spray caps can be obtained by someone 18 or over, free of charge at local firehouses.

    Conserve Energy:

  • During periods of extremely hot and humid weather, electricity use rises, which can cause power disruptions.
  • Set your air conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees.
  • Use air conditioners only when you're home, and only in rooms you're using. If you want to cool your home before you return, set a timer that turns on no more than 30 minutes before you arrive.
  • Turn off nonessential appliances.
  • To receive free notifications about power outages affecting your neighborhood sign up for Notify NYC at www.nyc.gov/notifynyc.

    For more information on coping with extreme heat, see the Ready New York: Beat the Heat guide at www.nyc.gov/oem. For more information on the health effects associated with extreme heat visit www.nyc.gov/health.