Lately, the temperature outside has increased dramatically, bringing along with it a number of heat-related risks when engaging in physical activity outdoors. Although the sun’s warm rays can do wonders for our bodies, hearts and minds, it’s important to be aware of the dangers it can also entail.
First, it’s important to note that when exercising, nearly 75%-90% of the energy we use is converted into heat or is used to maintain the body’s physiological balance.
In order to keep its internal temperature at around 37 C, the body dissipates its heat in four different ways:
When the temperature outside is high, the body has a harder time evacuating its heat. In fact, sun rays and hot air prevent the body from efficiently dissipating heat. The body then redirects the blood to the skin and extremities in order to evacuate the heat through perspiration. It is important to note that perspiration does not evacuate heat. Rather, the evaporation of sweat is what helps lower body temperature. If you tend to wipe your perspiration regularly, you are preventing your body from adequately evacuating its excess heat. Moreover, high levels of humidity outdoors greatly affect the body’s ability to dissipate its heat through perspiration.
Naturally, the hotter it gets, the more the heat is likely to hinder your athletic performance. Additionally, if your workout is not done properly, it can cause significant problems such as cramps, heat stroke, exhaustion and sunstroke, the latter which can cause coma, or in extreme cases, even death.
If you must practise physical activities outdoors on a hot day, here are some tips to follow: