Exercising in Hot Weather: Three Serious Considerations
With the summer and hot temperatures, there are factors you should take into account when you exercise or engage in outdoor physical activities and competitions. To some of you, heat can be synonymous with poor performance and impaired abilities. Whether it’s before, during, or after you exercise, here are three factors to consider to maximize performance under extreme heat conditions.
Change your eating habits:
- The previous evening: It’s important that you store plenty of glycogen in your muscles to compensate for the energy you will use to evacuate heat. Make sure to consume about 10 g of carbs per kg of bodyweight the evening before your workout or event.
- Four hours before: Since your objective is to replenish your glycogen stores, eat a meal high in carbohydrates (300-400 grams) 3 to 4 hours prior to effort.
- During: At this point, our aim is to avoid depleting glycogen stores by ensuring a supply of about 1 gram of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight for each hour of exercise.
- After: When it comes to recovery, make up for the burned calories by consuming a meal with a 3:1 carbs-to-protein ratio. Chocolate milk is an excellent recovery drink.
First, remember that as a general rule, you should drink between 2 and 3 litres of water every day.
Two hours before: Drink about 500 ml of water 2 hours before your physical activity.
- Drink 125-250 ml every 15 minutes. A sports drink such as Gatorade will ensure you get an adequate supply of carbohydrates and electrolytes to offset the sodium lost through heavy perspiration.
- During effort, regularly pour water over your head to reduce your body temperature. It is also highly recommended that you wear appropriate sports clothing to evacuate heat properly.
- After: After your workout, rehydrate and make sure you drink as much water as you lost, which means about 500 ml of water per lost pound of bodyweight.
- Morning workouts: Plan your workout early in the morning, when the temperature is mild and less hot.
- Air conditioning, if possible! When it’s very hot indoors, opt to train in facilities equipped with air conditioning, if you have access to them.
- Cool environment: In events or competitions that begin at set times, stay out of the sun, in cool areas as long as possible beforehand.
- Regarding adaptation: Keep in mind that we need about 2 weeks to get accustomed to heat. Your first sessions under warm weather might be a little more challenging, but things should improve over time.
Of course, you should always listen to your body’s warning signals to avoid suffering from severe dehydration or a heat stroke that could jeopardize your health. Performance is good, but health is better. Above all, remember to use sunscreen!
This text of Martin Lacharité was adapted by Karine Larose.