Exercises in the heat series: Acclimatization

There are ways to acclimatize your body to the heat, and make it more heat resistant.  Exercising in the heat (and exercising in a cooler environment to some degree) will cause your body get better at maintaining homeostasis.  The trigger for this is an increased core body temperature, therefore, moderate to strenuous exercise is the best method to achieve this.  With repeated exposure, over about 7-14 days, physiological changes set in.  This includes, a lower heart rate and core temperature during exercise, increased blood volume, earlier onset of sweating (yes, its a positive thing if you sweat a lot), higher sweat rate, reduced salt loss in sweat, reduced skin blood flow(so more is used in your muscles), and an increased synthesis of heat shock proteins.  All this leads to better maintenance of internal homeostasis during time and exercise in the heat.  

Here’s how to safely acclimatize:

Daily for 7-14 days slowly extend the time you spend exercising in the heat by 1-2 minutes.

  • Start on Day 1 with 5 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise.  This could be a short jog or run, kettlebell work, calisthenics, etc. Drink 4 ounces of electrolyte enhanced water.
  • Day 2 increase to 7 minutes.
  • Day 3 increase to 9 minutes.
  • Day 4 increase to 11 minutes.
  • Day 5 increase to 13 minutes.


 



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