Thursday, June 6, 2013

Being Hottest Isn't Always Best

By: Jennifer

Today’s post is a continuation of Tuesday's to my fellow summer runners. We run to feel good and look good, but no one looks good passed out from being overheated.

I want to take the time to talk about getting overheated, the signs of heatstroke, and the difference between the two.

The safest runner is an informed runner. Listen to your body while you’re working out. Even if you’re in the gym, living and working in a hot and humid environment will still affect your body.

While a smart summer runner knows to “drink water like it’s your job,” she also knows that that you loose more than just water running outside. Your sweat is salty for a reason. Your body is losing important electrolytes, as well as the ability to absorb them back. Take care to monitor your sodium intake before and after a run. If you’re worried you’ll retain water by eating salt, STOP worrying, because retaining water is the goal. Without sodium in your diet, your body cannot absorb the water it needs to hydrate and replenish itself. This is a great time to drink Gatorade or your sports drink of choice. I like to stagger my intake of low sugar Gatorades starting the day before a long, outside run. I’ll drink half the bottle the day before, a fourth the morning of, and at least finish the last fourth post-run.

Dehydration and Overheating vs. Heatstroke

Sweat is a good sign that your body is effectively cooling itself. Sweating draws the heat from inside the body to the outside, cooling the body as it evaporates. But long runs in the summer can quickly take their toll if you're not careful to monitor your body. Here's how to recognize some of the danger signs that you don't need to push through on your run or that need attention post-run.

Signs of mild to moderate dehydration:

1-5% reduction in body weight, thirst, feeling dizzy/light headed, sleepiness/tiredness, dry, sticky mouth, headache, passing small amounts of dark, concentrated urine

Signs of overheating:

headache and weakness, dizziness or fainting, increased heart rate and respiration, drop in blood pressure, flushed skin, feeling very hot, sometimes followed by chills

Signs of heatstroke: (

High body temperature. A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
A lack of sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel moist.
Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
Headache. You may experience a throbbing headache.
Confusion. You may have seizures, hallucinate, or have difficulty speaking or understanding what others are saying.
Muscle cramps or weakness. Your muscles may feel tender or cramped in the early stages of heatstroke, but may later go rigid or limp.

None of these symptoms should ever be ignored. If you feel like you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, get in the shade, slowly drink water, slowly replace your electrolytes with a sports drink. Apply something cool (wet your shirt if you have to) on your head, armpits, around your neck, and/or your groin. Those locations are where your main arteries are and cooling them down first will cool your body down fastest. Never ignore the signs of heatstroke. If you or your running partner show these signs, don't hesitate to call 911. 

This article is not meant to scare you but to inform you. Go out there and earn that shorts tan, but pay attention to your body and communicate often with your running partner about how you're both feeling. 

Happy and safe summer running!

No comments:

Post a Comment