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Ask Dr. Salada: How Can I Safely Maintain My Training in the Heat?

Q:  Now that summer is here, the heat seems to be affecting me. I’m tired all of the time and I can’t maintain my endurance for my long runs and hikes. I also don’t feel as strong when resistance training. What is going on??

Well, summer has certainly arrived!! I can understand why you have noticed a change in your strength and endurance. The reason for this change is that our bodies get used to the conditions that we train in and what routines we practice. If you are demanding more from your body because you have altered your routine or because the climate that you are training in has changed, you have to give your body time to adapt. The issue with the heat is that exercise naturally increases our body temperature. When we train in very hot or humid conditions, we can easily get overheated if we try to do too much too soon. You really should listen to your body and slow down or go shorter distances for a few weeks until your body adjusts. You will adapt more quickly if you are a daily exerciser, but if you typically work out 3-5 days a week, it may take as long as 2-4 weeks. It is also important to remember that dehydration can occur quickly in hot and humid conditions, so make sure to stay well hydrated with not only water, but also with beverages that contain potassium, calcium and magnesium. Once you feel more energized, feel free to push a little harder to get back on track!!! And, of course, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep. The heat can really zap your energy and poor sleep only makes it harder to train.

Until next time, keep exercising!!

Elizabeth Salada, MD

Dr. Salada is board certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice in San Diego since 1996. She attended medical school at Wake Forest University where she received high honors in Family Practice and Internal Medicine. Her final training was obtained from Pennsylvania State University where she completed her residency in Internal Medicine.

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