Adapting to the heat – acclimatization is the key

Adapting to the heat – acclimatization is the key

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Its July and the heat is on. Time for those summer action blockbusters (this past year has been a bummer for movies), BBQ’s and enjoying a few cold beverages. Its also time for hot weather and the dreaded affects of not coping well with it – heat illness. While most of the articles focus on the signs and symptoms of heat illness, I wanted to take a moment and remind you how to acclimate to heat and avoid heat illness all together.  Here are a few tips to dealing with the heat:

Wear light colored clothing

Simple science here – dark colors attract and retain more heat.  Wearing light colored clothing will keep you cooler and that means you have a better chance of dealing with the heat.

Expect it to take 10 -14 days

Setting the right expectations can make all the difference.  You are not Superman, so don’t think that you will be able to put in 8 to 10 hour days in the blazing sun the first few days.  You will only fool yourself.  Your body will naturally ramp up to the duration of heat over the 10 -14 day time period.  Set your expectations now.

Limit sun exposure to 2 hours a day

Just like you wouldn’t start off lifting 360lbs on a bench press your first day in the gym, you shouldn’t expect to work 10 hours in the blazing heat.  Your need to work up to it, so come in early, take breaks and work late when the sun has gone down.

Add 30 minutes per day of heat

As you train to take the heat, you can add a little longer exposure each day until your body has acclimated to it.  Again, keeping the sessions short and sweet is the key.  Adding 15 to 30 minutes per day will help your body adjust naturally.

Increase water consumption

Adding more water to daily routine is key to surviving heat related illness, especially if your are in low humidity, dry climates where you don’t feel yourself losing water through perspiration.  You should be drinking a minimum of one quarter per hour, but if you can add a little more all the better.  Try to drink a little every 15 minutes to keep yourself well hydrated.

Use the amenities at the gym

Wet and dry saunas are great for relaxation, but they also keep your body in tune with the heat.  Adding this regiment well before summer arrives will help you ease into the acclimation period.  So, tell your spouse or partner that you need to escape a few hours a day to stay in shape for work.  Now that’s a great excuse!

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