With the hot weather recently, I thought it timely to talk about ways of keeping your body cool to help you beat the heat. If core temperature goes too high, this can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, faintness and profuse sweating; also known as heat stress. If this is not reigned in, heat stroke can occur which is life threatening. Here are some things you can do to minimize the risk.
Keeping your fluids up is imperative. Even 2% dehydration can result in reduced running speed by 6-7%, and can also result in reduced mental capacity. In some instances, water may not be enough, so an electrolyte drink such as Hydralyte, coconut water, or even a sports drink if you have been active may be required.
We’ve all seen the high sugar slushy’s at the local 7/11, however they are also often used for athletes who are playing in the heat (hello Australian Open!). These are a great choice for reducing core temperature, and are very refreshing. Also, it is easy to make your own, healthier option. I like using frozen fruit, ice cubes and water in the blender myself! If you have been training in the heat, you may want to use one of the aforementioned options in your slushy, to ensure you get your fluid balance right.
Something which you most likely do not need when sitting in your air conditioned office, however if you are spending time being active outdoors in high temperatures, similar to the slushy’s, these are an effective measure for reducing core body temperature.
Plan your training sessions
If you need to train outdoors, plan your sessions for early in the morning are later in the evening when the temperature is cooler. Take water with you as well. If you think you are over heating, stop, get out of the sun and have a drink. Ensure you know your estimated fluid losses to help you rehydrate as well.
Keep out of the sun
Direct sunlight in 40C plus temperatures may feel even hotter. Keep out of the sun as much as you can.
I hope you all manage to stay safe, cool and hydrated!
Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.