How You Can Prevent Any Heat Exhaustion While Running

Published: 14th May 2010
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Copyright (c) 2010 Lynsey Carter

One of our body's primary roles is for it's core temperature to remain at 98degrees F. Heat exhaustion, some would call it dehydration, occurs when our body's sweating cannot cool down to this temperature. Our body will try to do what it can by sweating or by sweat evaporation, but when our body cannot perform this action, it can lead to overheating and developing heat exhaustion while running especially.

Athletes may suffer a loss of performance of up to 30% and experience

* flushing;

* low endurance;

* rapid heart rate;

* elevated body temperature;

* and rapid onset of fatigue.

Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after 2% of a person's normal water volume has been lost.

Initially, you will experience thirst and discomfort, possibly along with some loss of appetite and dry skin.

Symptoms of mild dehydration include -

* thirst;

* decreased urine volume;

* abnormally dark urine;

* unexplained tiredness;

* irritability;

* lack of tears when crying;

* headache;

* dry mouth;

* dizziness when standing due to orthostatic hypotension;

* and in some cases insomnia.

In moderate to severe dehydration, where you sweat too much, there may be no urine output at all.

Other symptoms in these states include -

* lethargy or extreme sleepiness;

* seizures;

* sunken fontanel (soft spot) in infants;

* fainting; and

* sunken eyes

- thank you Wikipedia.

Dehydration, or heat exhaustion can happen very easily during excessive or strenuous physical activity, which are excessive sweating causes. Running or jogging happen to be the two main causes of heat exhaustion. Even though your body temperature is very likely to become high it does not mean that you cannot enjoy your running. Millions of people run or jog every day, and there are extremely few incidences of death or permanent injury from heat exhaustion. The major key to preventing heat exhaustion is to take the necessary precautions before you begin your run...always. If you do not think it is safe, then it probably isn't.

How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion While Running -

1. Be sure to always drink plenty of fluids some hours before your run as you will tend to be sweating excessive amounts of fluids. Water or electrolyte-balancing (isotronic) drinks are the very best fluids of choice. Avoid all other drinks such a soda or coffee, as sodium and caffeine do act as dehydrating agents. ALWAYS take a full water bottle with you as you run. There are plenty of running accessories available that will make carrying a bottle easy.

The electrolytes are important chemicals in our blood that help to regulate so many different functions within our body. Any imbalance of electrolytes can cause different symptoms, depending on whether the electrolyte levels are either too high or too low. You will need to be able recognize any of the symptoms of your own electrolyte imbalance, and what causes it. This way, you will be able to obtain the correct treatment when it becomes necessary, and therefore help to prevent any electrolyte imbalance in the future.

2. As you know, your body does cool down through the process called perspiring ( or more commonly, sweating).

Your perspiration needs to be able to evaporate off your body to complete the cooling-down process. Should you be overdressed, or dressed inappropriately in the wrong type of clothing, your body will not be able cool down effectively as it should.

You will need to wear light clothing that has a loose fit and also has the ability to breathe and absorb your sweat, and cotton is by far the best conductor material for this process. This type of clothing (cotton) will allow you to cool-down effectively, and it will not prevent any of your perspiration from evaporating away.

3. You may want to try to find a cooler, and perhaps easier, running route. Choose those streets, or roads, that are lined with shady trees, or buildings offering shade, on at least on one side of the street. You can check your local street directory or road map to find, or work out, your new running route. Perhaps you could even drive the route beforehand to ensure it does fit into your selection criteria, and then you will also be able to check the mileage quite accurately so that you will know how far you are going to run each time! This will be great in knowing your timing recording too.

You will most definitely need to hydrate during these, or any, long periods of exercise, and it is absolutely critical to not only replace any fluids lost to sweat, but also the excreted electrolytes. By not doing so, can result in a very serious health condition called hyponatremia which, if left untreated, can lead to death. ( Hyponatremia is an electrolyte disturbance -a disturbance of the balance of salts in your blood - in which the sodium concentration in the plasma is lower than normal (hypo in Greek), specifically below 135 mEq/L. The large majority of cases of hyponatremia occurring in adults result from an excess amount or effect of the water retaining hormone known as Antidiuretic Hormone commonly abbreviated as ADH) - thanks again Wikipedia

4. Also, you will probably need to choose a cooler time of the day to do your workout, especially during the hotter summer months. Either before 10am, or after 6pm, would be more ideal times to choose other than choosing the much hotter noon-time run. During sports events such as marathons, athletes take frequent water stops and water breaks to avoid dehydration, and lately in the Olympic Games marathons, these races have been run at the coolest times of the day, either early morning or early evening. Otherwise the effects on the athletes could be devastating.

So, if you happen to experience any of these symptoms of heat exhaustion -

* cramping;

* faintness;

* rapid pulse;

* headache; or

* nausea,

then you will need to get out of the heat very quickly, pour cool water over yourself immediately, and seek urgent medical attention. Especially seek medical attention immediately if you are unable to manage the symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance on your own.

Your health is all important! This is the only body you will ever have so you must treat it as such!


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