Miguel Fragoso, ASICS FrontRunner ambassador, personal trainer and health coach, shares his training tips.
With the current harsh weather conditions across the Middle East, many believe that it is impossible to maintain exercise and that their fitness goals have to be put on hold. This is not the case and there are plenty of ways to work out around the harsh conditions. When training, people should adapt their routine, stay hydrated and focus on technique rather than intensity and volume.
Staying safe should always be the top priority. Train with a partner and look out for each other.
Stay informed about the weather and consider skipping your workout if there’s a heat warning.
Choose shaded locations and indoor facilities. Schedule your workouts during the cooler parts of the day. Usually, early morning (before sunrise) or late evening (after sunset). Use cooling strategies: take a cooler box, wet your skin with water or use a damp towel around the neck and chest.
Wear lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking and light-coloured clothing designed for heat, such as ASICS ventilate tops or shorts, which are specifically designed to maximise airflow. Wearing a cap, sunglasses and covering exposed skin from the sun’s rays is also important. Wear light-coloured shoes rather than black as these will significantly cool your feet. Plus, wear the correct socks that can help absorb sweat.
Adjust the intensity
Your heart rate will increase in heat as part of its physiological response to maintain the core body temperature and meet the increased demand for oxygen. As you sweat, the blood volume decreases. To compensate for this loss your heart needs to work harder to pump more blood.
Adjust your training goals by choosing lower-stress activities like stretching or mobility work. This is not the right time to increase training volume or intensity. Listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, take a break and cut it short if needed. Monitoring your heart rate can help you read your body’s response to the heat. If your heart rate is higher than normal for the intensity, that means you have to slow down.
Acclimatise your body
If you’re not used to training in hot conditions, allow your body to adjust slowly to avoid heat-related illnesses, like heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Start with shorter sessions and lower intensity.
Expose your body to heat stress to improve your heat tolerance. Sauna or steam room sessions can simulate some of the conditions experienced during hot weather. You will become more efficient at sweating, which is our natural cooling mechanism. Your blood vessels will widen, and deliver more oxygen and nutrients to muscles.
Hydration is essential for overall health, especially in the hot months. A general rule of thumb is to carry water with you during your activity or to plan routes where you can access water fountains (Dubai Can). Estimate your daily fluid intake based on your body weight. Aim for 30 to 35ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weigh 70 kg: 30 ml x 70 kg = 2,100 ml. That’s 2.1 L per day.
Use a scale to weigh yourself before and after exercise. The weight lost post-exercise is water weight only. Drink that same amount within the first hour after exercise. Add 2 pinches of salt (0.8g) into your 500 ml water bottle to enhance hydration. Sodium binds to water in your body and helps maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside your cells.
Get sugar or sweeteners-free electrolytes tablets or powder. Sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, or magnesium are all important electrolytes. Coconut water is the best natural electrolyte drink – it’s low in sugar and high in potassium. It contains small amounts of sodium, calcium and magnesium. To have to correct sodium: potassium ratio, add one pinch of salt (0.4g) to one coconut water (300ml).
And, have fun.
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