Playing sports and maintaining regular exercise is essential to leading a healthy life. But when temperatures rise, the risk of heat-related injuries or complications increases significantly. It is important to understand the risks and take appropriate precautions so that our physical activity is safe and effective, even more so when we are doing it under the influence of the weather. In recent days, a large part of the country has experienced a sudden change in temperature, reaching 30 degrees in some communities such as Valencia. It was precisely in the city of Elche that he died young, 50 participating in the half marathon edition, in which almost 2,800 runners participated. After he had done so, he suddenly collapsed. After being treated at the scene, his death was confirmed hours later at the General Hospital of the city of Alicante. The whole thing shows the impact of the heat, making one play wild at high temperatures. What more dangers do these weather games bring? How can we prevent its effects?
When the thermometer marks about 30º, doing sports outside can pose a healthy risk. Dehydration, fatigue, seizures, loss of consciousness or heat stroke are some of the problems that we could face if we take to the streets without caution. As we have said, among them, one of the most common and serious risks of doing sports in hot temperatures is heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body is exposed to hot temperatures under its influence for a long time or with physical effort. This causes the body to lack water and essential salts necessary for proper functioning, in addition to not being able to regulate its internal temperature through the usual mechanisms, such as sweating and burning.
Normally, this happens at temperatures close to 40 degrees, although it can happen in lower thermal conditions (as in this specific case). Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, dry, reddened skin, and elevated body temperature. If not treated properly, heat stroke can lead to dehydration, seizures, and brain damage, which can lead to death.
Another risk related to the heat and the gym is dehydration. When we play in hot weather, we lose fluids through sweat faster than normal. If we do not maintain these fluids, we can become dehydrated, which can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, and dizziness.
Also, when the temperatures are high, we will have a loss of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. That can lead to some kind of electrical disturbance of the heart. These occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate the heartbeat do not work properly. A faulty signal causes the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregularly.
And according to this, we must pay attention to the signs, because some organic effects can cause failure. For example, some of the symptoms include: a sharp headache after sports, a very high body temperature that does not go down, severe contractions with muscle spasms, very strong fatigue, with a strong desire to sleep, or if you can faint.
Another indication for exercising in hot temperatures is a decrease in sports performance. When we play in the heat, our bodies have a harder time regulating their internal temperature. This is because our body exerts less energy in physical activity itself, which can lead to reduced athletic pursuits and a much more tired or fatigued mind than in other situations.
On the other hand, cramps or muscle damage (with sharp pain in the legs and/or abdomen) may occur. Therefore, if we subject ourselves to heat, the right thing to do is to go to more temperate places. For if we run in the sun, it is best to exercise in the shade.
For these reasons, these days we should not ignore our sporting habits, what we need to do is to change some habits in order to practice safely. To avoid heat stroke, we must ensure that we are well hydrated before, during and during exercise. Drinking water and sports drinks that contain electrolytes can help replenish fluids and salts that our bodies lose through sweat, which will also prevent related dehydration. It is also important to avoid direct sunlight and to look for dark spots or to exercise early in the morning or late at night when the temperatures are cooler. Remember to wear light, breathable, comfortable clothing. You should hydrate the skin from the outside, which favors the arrangement of the skin, and use sunscreen.
Also, it is important to adapt our routine to the weather. For example, we can reduce the intensity of the exercise and increase the time between recovery sets. We can also look for dark places or exercise indoors with air conditioning. A cold (not ice) water bath also helps recovery, although remember to dip your hands, neck and other parts of your body first so as not to cause thermal shock.