Yeah I know, it's hot out there - and humid. The combination of heat and humidity play an important role in outdoor fitness activity. Firstly, they give us all a strong excuse for not getting outside to exercise. We just don't want to struggle in that environment. As I have previously spoken about in these pages, there are great challenges to fitness, namely the work required to make it happen. So the excuse of 'It's too hot', comes to mind instantly and then easily rolls off the tongue.

The second reason that the summer heat and humidity play such a significant part in how we approach activities outside of an air conditioned building, is physiological. Simply put, it is harder for the body to move in the heat. The hotter the ambient temperature is, the hotter the body's core temperature gets. As the core temperature rises all performance drops - and you feel it! You get sluggish, muscles fatigue earlier, heart rate increases, sweating increases causing dehydration, causing the blood to thicken, thus reducing oxygen carrying capabilities to the muscles and organs. Translation - exercise avoidance.

A simple strategy to overcome this fact of nature is to adjust your goals for outside summer exercise and over time force a physiological adaptation that will allow you to increase your performance and feel better while doing it. Start by hydrating throughout the day. Drink all day long instead of cramming a quart of water moments before you start out. Second, slow down. Expect your body to respond much differently from what you are used to. Initially you should expect less but also know that over time you performance will increase.

 

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