The hotter the air the more moisture it can hold. This exactly explains why running or playing sport in the hot and humid weather becomes more difficult. All we know is “Climate is what we expect and weather is what we get” — some words by Mark Twain.
Our bodies deal with increased temperatures or humidity is by sweating. Sweat is evaporated on the skin surface and heat is lost, therefore our core temperature remains regulated. When we sweat, our blood volume decreases. As a result, the amount of blood pumped by the heart, decreases; consequently, reducing the amount of oxygen-rich blood to our working muscles. This leads to a decrease in the aerobic energy production, slowing our exercise pace. In hot and humid climates, heat exchange between the body and environment is substantially impaired, leading to serious performance reductions and increasing the risk of heat illness. If we don’t prepare ourselves for this water loss, we could easily head towards dizziness and nausea. Not something we want to deal with while working out or training hard!
Also, when we sweat, our body loses the essential electrolytes (mineral salts) –sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. These electrolytes are important for maintaining normal muscle function (e.g. preventing muscle cramps) and for supporting our immune system. Therefore, our ideal nutrition strategy for training and racing in hot and humid climates should be focused on 3 key elements combined (not at the exclusion of each other):
- Electrolyte replacement
So let’s talk about some of the ways that we can use to combat the heat and the humid conditions so that our performance doesn’t go down.
Exercising in hot, humid weather increases the core body temperature stressing the body’s natural cooling system as it works hard to maintain normal body function.
Keep yourself as hydrated as possible, take on plenty of fluids (Branch Chain Amino Acids) is a good option with some electrolytes that can retain the energy plus also helps in retaining the muscles. Therefore, this is a great option for all age groups may it be kids or may it be adults.
Keep fluids cool with ice (alternatively, freeze drinks the night before allowing them to defrost slowly over the day of competition). Cooled drinks will help regulate your core temperature.
Wear synthetic fabrics. Unlike cotton, synthetics take moisture from your skin so that there is cooling while you are playing.
Workout shirts made of 100% cotton will absorb the sweat and hold it against your body. Choose workout clothing that wicks perspiration away from your body.