When it comes to training and competing outdoors, the Aussie summer often provides some of the toughest competition in the form of overheating.
Overheating can affect your performance, impacting your cognition and reaction times. If your activity of choice involves exercising for a long duration, at a high intensity, or a combination of both, the risks of overheating are amplified and can prove a significant detriment to your health.
While research points to training in a hot environment positively impacting performance through acclimatisation, if unaccustomed to heat, it can cause the body great stress and damage.
3 degrees of Separation.
Your normal body temperature is roughly 37 degrees Celsius, give or take a degree or two depending on various factors such as environment and stress. When you move, the muscles that contract in your body produce heat.
Prevention is Key.
- Hydration: Your body produces sweat as a means to regulate your temperature. If you do not replenish the fluids that you sweat out, your risk of overheating and dehydration increase. When exerting yourself in extreme temperatures sometimes water alone can hydrate you as fast as necessary. As you also lose essential minerals such as sodium (salt) when you sweat, The AIS recommends consuming chilled beverages (below 15 degrees) and sports drinks containing sodium to improve fluid intake and performance.
- Don’t go too hard, too soon: If you are not used to training in the heat, work your way up to longer durations and higher intensities. Keep it simple, track your workouts, their duration and how hard you are pushing. Ease off at the first sign of exhaustion. Tracking your heart rate is a great way to also track and assess when you need to ease off.
- Avoid direct sun: Training in the morning, evening, or in the shade (where possible) can help minimize the risk of overheating. Also taking a common sense approach to sun protection can mitigate other risks such as sunstroke and sunburn.
- Dress for success: One of the best ways to stay cool is through the skin, this is why we take layers off when we get hot. The right clothing can also help lower temperatures and enable you to perform better. If you are looking to really ramp up your performance in the heat, the VIRUS StayCool Performance Series, featuring CoolJade fabric technology, is engineered for staying cool, dry, and comfortable. It can drop skin surface temperature by up to 5°C, and also offers UPF 30+ in white fabrics and UPF 50+ for black fabrics.
Play it smart when training this summer, and reap the benefits of enhanced performance.