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Why am I training so badly in the heat?

A few weeks ago, I attended a training course that I attended regularly, and then – surprisingly! – noted that the air conditioning in the gym was out of order. It was, of course, an unusually hot and humid June day in New York. The sweat was running down my chest as I just sat in front of the studio, waiting for class to begin. How should I participate in this 75-minute circuit training? I asked myself. I was already so hot, the thought of jump rope and jump squats was unimaginable.

But I had just returned from vacation and really hungered for strength, so I decided to stay and do it.

The moment the lesson started, I was afraid that I would not be able to do it. It was just so hot. There were a few other people in the class who seemed to be similarly disturbed by the oppressive temperature. They took many water breaks and wiped endless sweat from their brows, arms, chest and pretty much every inch of visible skin. But then there were people who seemed almost indifferent and the movements went through as usual. Sure, if you looked closely, every single person was sweating, but it seemed like I was going much worse than 50 percent of the class. I'm not one who compares to other people in a fitness group class, but I was wondering why it was harder for me personally to handle the heat.

How Our Body Cures Heat

To understand why I suck on the heat during training, I first wanted to get an introduction to our body functions to stay cool when training in hot environments.

The human body releases heat through a few key energy exchange processes, explains Stephen S. Cheung, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, and author of Advanced Environmental Exercise Physiology . These include radiation, convection, conduction and evaporation (here a short scientific lesson on how all these processes work). "The body is working to do all this at once," says Cheung. He adds, however, that these processes all depend on a temperature gradient between your body and the environment. If the air is cooler than your body, you can release heat through the first three methods (we will evaporate) in a minute) more effectively. "The warmer the environment, the lower the temperature gradient and thus the viability of these paths," says Cheung.

This brings us to evaporation. When the air around you is very hot, your body loses heat mainly through sweating and evaporation, says Cheung. "What happens with sweat is that your body creates it on the skin and then warms up every water droplet and turns it into water vapor." When steam or steam evaporates from your body, it creates a cooling effect. The process is not based on a temperature gradient, but on a moisture difference between your skin and the air, says Cheung. "That's why high humidity is a challenge – you can sweat a lot, but the sweat does not evaporate, it just gets dehydrated, it drips from your body and you feel uncomfortable." Do not sweat if you want it to work – who knew ?!)

In contrast, Christopher T. Minson, Ph.D., Professor of Human Physiology at the University of Oregon and co-director of the exercise and Environmental Physiology Labs explains that sweat in hot, dry climates where there is plenty of room for water vapor in the air usually causes your body to cool much more effectively.

What determines your personal heat tolerance? [19659014] So it's safe to say that most mortals in this class had at least a little bit of fighting, considering how hot and humid it was. But why was I about to give up? I asked both Cheung and Minson if there was an explanation why hot training could be more difficult for some people than others. And more importantly, if I could do anything to make it easier for me.

Of course, they say, genetics play a role here – everyone is different, so of course all our bodily functions vary from the start. But the biggest factor in determining how much physical stress you have from the heat is how well you got used to it. Heat Acclimation basically describes only the changes that occur in your body when you adapt to heat stress. You have to work towards that. "Humans have an incredible ability to adapt to high temperatures and perform well provided we stay hydrated and it's not too humid," says Minson. "If someone has been exposed to heat stress (especially recently), they will tolerate heat stress better." Put simply, the only way to acclimatize is to experience constant heat and, in essence, build tolerance.

"There is a progressive schedule for adapting to heat, and different parts of your system will react at different rates," says Cheung. For example, he says, after about four days of training, your resting heart rate will likely drop for an hour or two in a hot environment. The increase in sweat rate takes a little longer, so it may take about two weeks for you to notice a difference.

If you are really committed to training in the heat, you need to do it almost every day to notice a difference better in it. Minson notes, however, that you are likely to notice a natural difference in your tolerance, for example, from the beginning of summer to the end. Even if you do not diligently try to acclimatize, if you do not spend a lot of time in the heat and exercise regularly, you will naturally feel good about it in the end. (Cheung also notes that if you live in a place that is often hot and humid, you are more acclimatised, but that's a kind of non-starter when you talk about my situation in a room full of people, all living in the same city. ) [19659018] Part of it is due to another important factor: psychological conditioning. Or, as Minson calls it, your "perception of how hot you are." "Obviously, [heat acclimation] has a physiological aspect, but much of it is the mental side."

He explains, "When you get fit and get used to the heat, you can see how hot you are, and changes For example, he says if you are training in a very hot room and rate your sharpness with a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. The next day can be the same environment and workload as with an 8 Feel cooler in exactly the same circumstances, part of which is [physiological changes]but also that your perception of how hot you are will change, and at any point you just do not feel so hot, "says Minson.

My husband is a good person to ask how I deal with discomfort (I do not like it very much, and I like to complain a lot), so that makes sense.

Feeling good in heat and feet Moisture

While some people tolerate heat better from the beginning thanks to genetics, Minson is soothing to me and to me. All the others who feel my pain: "I've never seen anyone better able to withstand heat to train. "It's really just about getting acclimated mentally and physically.

In the short term, however, there are a few things you can do to make hot workouts more bearable. (Aside from swearing to just work inside with booming air conditioning until it's cool outside again … which, I admit, is very tempting.)

Vote, "says Cheung. Minson also recommends drinking cold water before a hot workout, or even putting ice bags on your neck to cool your body before exercising. Take frequent breaks and drink more water if you feel particularly hot and thirsty. Ask your teacher if there is a fan that will circulate the air a bit. Wear light, breathable clothing.

And of course, play it safe. It's okay to be hot and uncomfortable. Dealing with it is part of the acclimatization process. What is wrong is symptoms of heat stress, such as mood swings, mental dizziness or confusion, decreased coordination, higher heart rate, or much faster breathing than you would normally hyperventilate for a given exercise level (you're wheezing or wheezing). According to Cheung, these are all early signs that the heat is overburdening your body and you may be heading for Heat Exhaustion (which can be dangerous). If you notice them, you should stop, drink water and try to cool down by either finding a cold room in front of a fan or pouring cold water on yourself.

"A little discomfort will not hurt hurts as long as you take the proper precautions," says Cheung. Be aware of the signs of potential danger and always listen to your body. If it tells you to stop, do not try to be a hero – take it to someone who is completely shameless to stop and take a water break while everyone else slides past me.

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