EXERCISE IS THIRSTY WORK
SUMMER SWEAT SESSIONS OFFER MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK AS LONG AS YOU’RE GIVING YOUR BODY THE FUEL IT NEEDS
There are clear benefits of exercising in warmer weather. We move more easily as it take less time to raise the body’s core temperature. This same principle allows us to start our sessions with a bit more intensity in warmer temperatures too.
Another major plus is that we burn more calories exercising in higher temperatures as the body has to work harder to cool itself down.
The body releases heat through sweat which comes from blood that’s pumped to the skin. The hotter your body gets, the more blood your heart needs to pump to expel that heat. It may be more comfortable to exercise in an airconditioned gym environment in the summer months but keep in mind it takes longer to experience the benefits of a real sweat session, something you could be achieving in half the time outdoors.
Obviously, along with the benefits of adding heat to training, there are things to look out for.
The best advice is to avoid training in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest. Sunstroke or heat exhaustion is quite common in athletes who push their bodies in high temperatures.
It’s also dangerous if your body is not conditioned to exercising in warmer temperatures. Know your limits. You need to build up to an outdoor exercise routine rather than just taking what you do in a gym outside.
The warning signs of heat stress are fatigue, cramps and dizziness. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.
It brings us to the obvious question: “Water! How much do I need?”
A good way to measure your fluid loss is through weighing yourself before and after your exercise session. This will give you an idea of your fluid loss through sweat. In some cases, you can lose up to 2L of fluid. The best bet is to replace fluids as you exercise. Sipping water replenishes your body’s vital water content rather than drinking large amounts in one sitting.
A sports drink may contain electrolytes to replace the salts your body is losing but I recommend avoiding these as they usually have a high sugar content too. Water is best.
If you’re training for extended periods of time and losing a lot of sweat, then replacing your body’s salts is necessary to help with recovery. Electrolytes can be bought from the chemist if you fall into that category. Always read the labels to see what you’re ingesting.
Magnesium can be replenished by taking a tablet or added to drinks in powdered form.
At the end of the day, sweating is good for us. Some people sweat more than others; some find it uncomfortable, but it’s what our bodies are designed to do. As I like to remind my clients, without sweat there is no chocolate.
D R E W G R I F F I T H Gym owner Drew Griffith holds a Cert III and IV in Fitness and is a CrossFit Level 1 Coach. The strength and conditioning trainer has been helping people achieve their health, weight, sport and fitness goals for the past 30 years.