How to Prevent a Body From Overheating During Exercise

When exercising outdoors in hot weather, try to stick to the shade to prevent overheating.

When exercising outdoors in hot weather, try to stick to the shade to prevent overheating.

Many things can cause a body to overheat during exercise. The harder you work out, the more likely you are to overheat. If you work out in a hot environment or if the humidity is high, that also increases the likelihood of overheating. Overheating during exercise can be dangerous; it can even lead to heat stroke, which can be deadly.

Avoid Exercising in Very Hot Environments

It may sound obvious, but you’re more likely to overheat when exercising outdoors in very hot weather. Humidity increases the risk of overheating. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, try to do so in the morning before the day gets too hot and stick to shady areas. If it’s overly warm indoors, use fans to cool the room before exercising.

Wear Light Clothing

Wear light, loose-fitting clothing to prevent overheating during exercise. When exercising outdoors on sunny days, light-colored clothing will help you keep cool. When exercising in cool weather, dress in layers so you can remove some clothing if you begin feeling too warm; vigorous exercise can raise body temperature significantly even on relatively cool days.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water helps prevent dehydration while exercising and also helps prevent overheating. An article in the June 4, 2007, issue of the “Los Angeles Times” explains that drinking cold water while exercising keeps you hydrated and cool, but recommends drinking room temperature water after a workout because cold water satiates you faster so you drink less. Most experts recommend not relying on thirst to tell you how much to drink because by the time people feel thirsty, they are often already slightly dehydrated. Instead, just drink before, during and after a workout. If exercising vigorously for long periods of time, you may also want to have some sports drinks on hand.

Apply Cool Compresses or Use a Spray Bottle with Cool Water

If you begin to get overheated while exercising, try applying cool compresses to bring your body temperature down fast. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs also suggests using a spray bottle to spray yourself lightly with cool water. This is particularly helpful for people who don’t sweat as much as normal (a condition known as anhidrosis, which may be caused by certain illnesses like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and some metabolic disorders, as well as by some medications) because the water sprayed onto the skin serves as a kind of artificial sweat, which helps keep the body cool.

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About the Author

Kelly Morris has been making a living as a writer since 2004. She attended the College of Mount St. Joseph with a major in social work and minor in women's studies. Her work has appeared in a number of print publications including Caregivers Home Companion, Midwifery Today and Guide.

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