How can I prepare to exercise in the heat?

Michael Bergeron, PhD
Sports Medicine
There are several things you can do to prepare for exercising in hot weather:
  • Get fit: High aerobic fitness and an appropriate level of body fat can give you a big advantage when it comes to tolerating the heat, reducing heat storage and effectively regulating your body temperature.
  • Acclimatize to the heat: Progressive training in the heat prompts certain physiological changes that reduce the risk of heat illness and help you to perform better. If you are traveling to a much hotter environment, plan to arrive at least a few days early. Even though full heat acclimatization can take up to two weeks (if you are not used to the heat at all), two to three days can really help.
  • Acclimatize to the intensity and duration: A gradual introduction to practice and competition intensity and duration is critical.
  • Clothing and uniforms: White or other light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing designed for the heat is preferable. During preseason training, uniforms and protective equipment should be introduced progressively and reduced appropriately as weather conditions warrant.
  • Taper your training: Reduce the volume of training during the days preceding a hot-weather competition. This gives your body a chance to recover so that you don’t start the event fatigued.
It is best to avoid exercising in very extreme conditions, but if you choose to exercise in the heat be very careful to drink plenty of water, before, during and after exercise, and to eat a balanced diet. It is very easy to overheat, so taking appropriate breaks and allowing your body to cool down after exercise is important.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.