It’s HOT. The siren song of the ice cream truck is calling, and the air conditioner is whispering sweet nothings in your ear. But you’ve got a competition to win! You’ve got a race to train for! You’ve been cooped up inside all day and need to get your nature on! So how do you handle the hot weather, especially when you need to be in beast mode? Pre-cooling friends, pre-cooling.
Exercising in the heat saps your energy way faster than normal, as your body tries to deal with the hotness. It’s response is to up your sweat game and to shunt blood from your core towards your skin. These are great ways to ditch some internal body heat, but they ramp up your heart and decrease the blooood (said in a dracula voice, obviously) going to your muscles, which is why your workouts feel so much tougher come hot days.
Here’s where pre-cooling comes in: it helps you lower your core body temperature before you start exercising. That means you can go harder for longer, before your body hits it’s hot high-point and starts working extra hard/slowing you down. While studies have shown heat zaps an athelete’s performance, studies have also shown that pre-cooling can boost performance when it’s hot and humid out.
How to go about it? Cold showers and frozen underwear are options, but not the most practical. Who wants to run after having a shower?! Instead, try these tricks 10-20 minutes before your workout:
- wear a cooling vest
- drape a frozen towel around your neck
- eat a freezie or a cup of frozen sports drink (the sugar makes the mixture colder than if it were just ice)
If you’ve got your own tricks to stay cool, leave them in the comments! And if something other than the heat is keeping you immobile, you can schedule an appointment with our physiotherapists or nutritionist by calling the Orleans, Barrhaven or Westboro office of Ottawa Physiotherapy and Sports Clinics.