Exercise in the heat series: Hydration and Acclimitization

Written by Jared Kauffman.

 Enjoy the hot weather, and stay safe this summer with these hydration and acclimatization tips!


Hydration guidelines:

  • Our general recommendation is drinking half your body weight in pounds in ounces of water enhanced with electrolytes every day as a baseline (example: 200 pound person should consume 100 ounces).  For every 30 minutes you are in the heat, you should drink an extra 4 ounces of water. 
  • If you are exercising intensely for longer than two hours, especially in the heat, do not rely on water alone. This will decrease your performance and your recovery. And it could also lead to hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels in your blood become too low. Hyponatremia causes your muscles and heart to contract erratically, and can even lead to death.  Under these conditions, when you're sweating a lot, go with a sports drink with added Remyte and Remag.
  • If you are preparing for a longer bout of exercise during the summer days or have an event where you will be exposed to the heat for long periods of time, prehydration is another great strategy to prevent dehydration. Follow this prehydration protocol:
  • 500 ml of fluid on the night before exercise/exposure
  • 500 ml in the morning
  • 500 to 1000 ml, 1 hour before exercise/exposure
  •  250 to 500ml, 20 minutes before exercise/exposure

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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