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Exercising in the heat? Local trainer weighs in on how to safely exercise on hot days

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Posted at 3:24 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 17:25:30-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - There's nothing like an intense workout while trying to aim towards your fitness goals.

But if you're planning on exercising in the 90-degree heat forecast for this week, then your workout could negatively impact your health if you're not careful.

Local resident Brian Brown knows that experience personally.

"I was a long-distance runner for 20-some years. I had run in just about anything,” Brown said. “I had an arrhythmia that popped up in the middle of my run."

He had a close call with danger in the past when he exercised on one hot day.

"I realized my heart was not in a normal rhythm,” Brown explained. “I knew that was serious, and it’s one of those things that got me to back off and really pay attention to the temperatures."

He says he carries a heart monitor with him to make sure his pulse is stable. He said he also pays attention to the weather.

“When it’s hot, it’s nice to have a little cloud cover, but when it’s really hot,” Brown said, “I like to wait until the evening. It’s a lot better then."

On the day we spoke to Brown, he was exercising at Bon Secours’ In Motion Sports Performance gym. Zachary York is the sports performance coordinator at the gym.

"I think a lot of people overdo it and underestimate the effect of heat and humidity,” York said. “Somebody better be chasing you if you’re running out there in that heat."

While he said he appreciates seeing people giving it their all during their workouts, exercising in the heat can be detrimental.

According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms such as heavy sweating, nausea and fast or weak pulses could mean heat exhaustion. If your body temperature is over 103 degrees and you start to feel unconscious, then you could be experiencing a heat stroke.

But there are steps you can take.

“The first thing: Make sure you’re 100% fully hydrated,” York said. “Trying to get like 16 to 18 ounces or something like that is a good balance."

He recommended cutting workout times in half if you will be in the heat so your body can adapt.

Related: Hampton Roads tries to beat the heat during triple-digit heat index

Meanwhile, Brown recommended wearing nylon or polyester clothing and working out when the sun isn't strong such as in the morning.

The best alternative, York suggested, "If you can, prefer to work out inside it would be a little bit better and safer for reducing the risk of heat exhaustion."