Although currently in St. Petersburg, Fla. there is no excessive heat warning issued, this area experiences very hot weather for a good portion of the year.
Staying true to its nickname, The Sunshine State, the ever present sun causes high temperature and humidity rates for at least 8 months out of the year.
Even though most love the sun, few enjoy the extreme heat plus exercise combination. In fact, it is often avoided in the upmost way.
However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children and adults should have 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
How can one keep up with their aerobic activity in the hot sun without always going to an air conditioned gym? Swimming laps or playing a game of water polo can be the solution.
Most outdoor public pools are chilled by a cooling system, providing a refreshing place to exercise during the hot, humid Florida days.
With high temperatures, swimming can also help people maintain their fitness levels without being at risk for heat exhaustion.
Inevitably, heat exhaustion is a real issue that should be taken seriously.
According to an article by the Mayo Clinic Staff, exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on the body. This is because the body’s core temperature rises dramatically due to exercise which increases a body’s temperature, along with the external heat.
In the body’s process to help cool itself, more blood circulates through the skin which leaves less blood for the muscles. Overall, this increases the heart rate.
Also, when humidity is high, the body is faced with added stress as sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from the skin which elevates the body’s temperature as well.
Thus, heat exhaustion occurs when the body’s temperature rises above normal and can lead to a heat stroke if left untreated. Nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, and weakness are some symptoms.
Swimming in chilled water will help eliminate some of these issues caused by exercising in the heat.
However, whether swimming or exercising in the heat outside, hydration is an important element in keeping the body’s temperature cool. Even with swimming, the body still sweats and the sun and humidity affect the body’s core temperature at some level.
While swimming, drinking water, Gatorade or a sports recovery drink will help keep the body from feeling over fatigued, dehydrated, and at risk for a heat-related sickness.
Even though extreme heat seems to be a legitimate excuse for a lack of exercise, it is merely a pretext. Swimming comes to the rescue for all individuals, providing one a cool aerobic solution for healthy living.
* Information regarding heat exhaustion was referenced from the article Heat and Exercise: Keeping Cool in Hot Weather, from mayoclinic.com.