How to train in hot weather: 10 pieces of advice from a sports doctor
It’s fine to train in the open air over the summer, but what if it’s so hot that even strolling in the city is tiring? Eugene Akimov, doctor and trainer at Krumkachy football club, offers us some advice.
When and where should I train and what should I wear?
If you want to train in the street (even if it’s just a standard jogging session), you’ll need to optimize your schedule according to the daily weather conditions. Training should take place at the minimum insolation level, i.e. in the evening after 6:00 pm or in the early morning.
Exercise in the shade if you have the opportunity, preferably in a park, forest or somewhere similar. Naturally, a sensible choice of clothing is also important. You need to feel comfortable above all. But you still should consider the following factors:
- You might find a hat helpful to protect your head from overheating;
- It’s better to conceal the upper part of your body from the sun using long sleeves, otherwise you may burn yourself;
- As a rule, the lower part of the body is often hidden from the sun by the shadow of the upper part of the body, so you can usually safely wear shorts;
- Your clothing should be light and thin, and allow for sweat to be easily secreted from the body while at the same time protecting your skin from the sun.
Should I warm up in the heat?
Warming-up is necessary in all weather conditions. The effectiveness of a warm-up is defined by increasing the temperature of your muscles. Our body temperature goes up when we’re under the sun, but our body tries to keep our muscle temperature at the same level at all times. That’s why warming-up is no less necessary in the summer as it is in the winter — regardless of whether you’re doing powerlifting, cardio or gaming sports. The indicators of an effective warm-up are a feeling of rushing blood, increased heat in the body, and even a light tiredness.
What should I drink before, during, and after training?
Water that you drink before, during, and after training not only helps us replenish the loss of liquid in the body along with electrolytes and minerals, but it also reduces your body temperature. If the body starts to actively overheat, you can lose 2-3 percent more liquid that usually. That’s why it’s important to drink 400-500 mg of liquid in the 1 to 1.5 hours before your training session begins. After this time, it’ll no longer be in your stomach and won’t cause discomfort while you’re training. It can also increase your productivity and efficacy of the session. Do not forget to take some water along to sip during the training session.
Choose a beverage with a low sugar content. For instance, isomaltose drinks are a good choice as they provide energy, not just at the beginning of your training but throughout. If you don’t have this option, then add a slice of lemon or some orange juice to your water. The sourness provided by these additives will cause you to produce more saliva and you won’t experience dry mouth.
What if I’m training indoors?
This really depends on the conditions your sports club provides. If there’s an air conditioning system that provides optimal conditions for your training sessions (between +18 and +21 °C), then there’ll be no specific reason to change your training when it’s hot.
The only thing that is of importance is you shouldn’t stand under the direct flow of air conditioning.
But if’s no quality air conditioning in your sports hall and you don’t tolerate heat too well, then make your training session shorter than usual. Decrease your number of sets, the weight you lift or your running time, and increase your resting time. It’s important to keep your body at a lower temperature and decrease the amount of heat you’re generating more effectively.
What if I don’t have time to gain muscle before summer?
People with a large muscle mass usually don’t tolerate heat so well. This is due to their increased body temperature. In the heat, sleep worsens and appetite decreases in people with larger muscles. This can be an obstacle to increasing muscle mass, which is why summer is not the best time to try and gain muscle. It’s actually better to work on gaining mass in winter and focus on recovery and endurance in summer.
Can hot weather help me to lose weight?
People with larger body mass should drink more liquid and try to select an appropriate time for their training sessions, in order to maintain a suitable temperature. Don’t cover yourself in warm clothes to try and produce more sweat. This can lead to dehydration, but it won’t not make you lose any weight.
A higher temperature usually causes people to decrease the amount they eat, which will decrease the total calories consumed and contribute to weight loss. In the heat, people tend to stay indoors more and refrain from intensive activity. It’s another reason to eat less. The results will be achieved even without extreme diets, as a person will generally consume fewer calories than he or she burns off.
Do I have to eat after a training session, even if I don’t want to?
Recovering from a training session is mostly determine by the amount of energy consumed. If you refrain from eating after a workout, you won’t achieve normal body restoration.
It’s important to try and fill your protein-carbohydrate window within the first 40 minutes after intensive training — both for cardio and power workouts.
Here, protein-carbohydrate and carbohydrate cocktails can be useful like never before. These can be made from conventional products. Eating meat in the hot weather is unnecessary. You should try to eat more cottage cheese and don’t worry about missing out on protein.
What’s the best type of cardio for hot weather?
Selecting the correct type of cardio training session is crucial for professional sportsmen. A sharp change in training can negatively affect the outcome. However, a beginner can select any comfortable type of training and change it depending on his or her wishes and demands. Of course, summer is ideal for swimming. However, if you love to run, don’t shy away from it — simply identify the optimal conditions. Your choices will depend on personal preferences and your body’s level of preparation.
What should I do if I have heart problems?
For every bod temperature increase of 1°C, the number of heart contractions increases by 10-12 percent. Our heart tries to pump up the blood through vessels more actively to try and cool down the body more efficiently.
If you suffer from heart problems, you need to consider the specific problem you have. The most frequent is arterial hypertension. If your blood pressure tends to get out of control in the heat, pay particular attention to it. Medication is usually the best solution here. If it still runs above or below normal after taking medication, then you should avoid training in the heat, as it could make your problem worse in the long run. It’s better to exclude any kind of excessive load on the body, especially in the heat or in the presence of other cardiovascular diseases, such as major heart rate imbalance or ischemic disease.
Here you’ll find a detailed text on how to train if you suffer from heart disease.
I’m heading south. What should I do about my training sessions?
Your body needs time to adapt after you move to a different climate and time zone. It’s better to decrease your load for the first 3-5 days, or even refrain from training completely. Professional sportsmen drink specially-designed medications after flying, in order to adjust to the changes faster. But you can just take a rest if you’re not (yet) a professional athlete. A couple days away from training won’t adversely affect your body.