Staying Cool and Avoiding Heatstroke

heat-strokeIt’s summertime, and you know what that means: making the most of the outdoors while you can! For the next few months, the clouds disappear and we are treated to our annual dose of sun. You’ve got to enjoy it while you still can.

I’ve written a couple blogs about why it’s so important to get outdoors, and how you can really use this time to help with your fitness. It gets you some healthy vitamin D, it adds some variety to your weekly fitness experience, and best of all, you get to enjoy yourself as you do it. Be sure to check out my blogs on the matter if you have a moment.

But something else comes with summer that we aren’t necessarily used to, and that’s some serious heat. The sun is out a lot more than normal, and things start to really heat up right around the beginning of July. Heck, this coming week is seeing a forecast well into the triple digits, with 102 estimated on Thursday.

Like all things in life, too much of a good thing definitely comes into play when it comes to spending time outdoors. Like any machine, well oiled or not, our bodies can get overheated when we spend too much time in the sun. This condition is commonly known as a heatstroke or sunstroke, and can be caused by spending too much time in severely hot weather with little to no water to hydrate.

Make no mistake, getting a little overheated can be VERY dangerous. Prolonged exposure can cause damage to internal organs and even brain damage, especially if you’re not drinking enough water.

These next few days, if you plan on spending some time outdoors, make sure you watch out for some common symptoms of heatstroke both in yourself and anyone you might be outdoors with. Symptoms include:

  • A throbbing headache, along with dizziness or a light-headed feeling
  • Dry, red skin that is warm or hot
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Unconsciousness or seizures

If you start to notice symptoms in yourself or in others, get yourself or your friend out of the sun immediately and seek medical attention. Heatstroke is not something to be taken lightly. Trust me, it isn’t a sign of weakness from spending so much time under rain clouds. Even natives to regions like Texas, Arizona, or Nevada suffer the same ill effects from spending too much time in the sun.

So do yourself a favor. Enjoy the sun, but drink plenty of water while you’re out there. And on Thursday, when it gets to 102, make sure you come to Boomer Fitness instead! We’ve got air conditioning and plenty of water, and some people who will be enjoying a Bootcamp, some personal training, or just escaping the extreme heat by burning some calories instead.

Progress: It takes time.

vrONi0DSomething that I’ve heard time and time again is “Why don’t I see progress?” You go to the gym day in and day out, you watch your diet, you dropped the excessive sugars and carbohydrates.

You don’t even drink soda anymore, so what’s the deal? Is going to the gym even worth it?

Well first of all, going to the gym is ALWAYS worth it. And, I can promise that if you’re showing up to the gym and sticking to your nutritional plan, you ARE making progress, even if you don’t see it happening right away. But why does progress seem to take so long?

One of my favorite analogies about the human body and fitness is like rock in a stream. Your body is the stream, and the rock is an obstacle it has to get around. How does the stream do it? Nine times out of ten, the stream is going to flow around the rock, taking the easiest course. It doesn’t want to change course or even move the rock, just like your body doesn’t want to change how it looks.

Your body doesn’t want to lose its body weight because it’s not programmed to lose that weight. If anything, your body is actually programmed to keep that weight! Think about it this way – thousands of years ago when humans couldn’t rely on a solid meal every day, we had to rely on our bodies reserves for energy. We had to sustain ourselves on what we could get, and that wasn’t always a guarantee like it is in our modern world.

So how do we keep faith in our goals of fitness? Trust me, I know it gets hard to stick to those goals. There’s something I like to tell my clients when they’re starting to lose faith in their progress: You have to be happy in the fact that you ARE making progress, no matter how slow it might appear.

Renewing your dedication to fitness means changing that mindset that fitness is somehow a destination. There will always be goals in our future, whether it’s jogging a mile or jogging five miles. The best part about fitness is knowing that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. The fact that you’re appearing at the gym is a sure sign that you’re improving your health.

And best of all, we can measure the fact that you’re making progress, whether you see it for yourself or not. Ask your personal trainer to look at your history, and I can guarantee you that after a month, you’re going to look better and perform better.