Too Hot to Handle: The Fitness Junkies Guide to Recognizing Heat Exhaustion

It’s summer, and we get it. The outside temperature might be soaring, but you still want to meet your daily workout goals. If the weather’s too hot to handle, though, you’ll need to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and do everything you can to keep yourself healthy even as you work yourself into a lather. Staying hydrated is just the start of it! Read on for our guide on recognizing - and hopefully avoiding - the possible perils of working out in the heat.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

While not as serious as a full-on heat stroke, heat exhaustion can be a serious condition and can progress to heat stroke. The range of symptoms starts with minor warning signs that should grab your attention before leading to a more serious condition that could require emergency intervention.

Mild signs of heat exhaustion include muscle cramping, headache, thirst, dizziness and fatigue. After that, symptoms progress to the range of moderate seriousness and include either excessive sweating or an absence of sweat, nausea, mouth dryness, and dark colored urine. Serious signs might mean a trip to the emergency room, lest exhaustion lead to heat stroke, and range from a spiking fever to fainting, confusion, lethargy and even seizures, chest pain, and palpitations.

Should you feel any of these symptoms, stop your activity, get out of the heat and make sure that you are hydrated. Going into an air-conditioned space is preferred but if you’re outside, look for a cool place in the shade. You should start to feel better within fifteen minutes but if you don’t, you might want to seek medical help. 

How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

Before you need that emergency dose of air conditioning, you can avoid entering danger territory by taking care of yourself during your hot weather workout.

Heat exhaustion and dehydration go hand in hand so avoiding one means avoiding the other. Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids before they are desperately needed. Remember, too, that exposure to high temperatures means you’ll need to chug down more than usual.

Those black lycra anti-chafing running tights might be the perfect outfit in cooler temperatures but if you’re working out in a heatwave, opt instead for looser, more comfortable clothes.

If it’s too hot outside to walk a block without sweating up a storm, stay inside! Plenty of workouts can be tackled in the cool air of the gym or your living room, utilizing hand weights, bootcamps and HIIT routines or the treadmill.

Summer doesn’t have to mean turning into a couch potato, desperate to stay cool. Follow this guide to stay committed to your fitness goals and work yourself into a lather that won’t risk your health.

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