Thursday, July 3, 2008

To Beat the Heat, Learn to Sweat It Out

“You already know that if you exercise outside on hot and humid days, you should drink plenty of water. And you are probably well aware of the risk of heat stroke given the countless reports about the warning signs. There is no question that heat can take a toll on performance. One reason performance declines on sultry, humid days is that working muscles have to compete with the skin for blood. Directing more blood to the skin removes body heat and helps keep your body’s temperature from rising to dangerous levels. But that can mean less blood reaches muscles. At the same time, when your body becomes hotter, muscle enzymes speed up, burning glycogen more rapidly, depleting stores of the sugar that the muscles use for fuel. But no matter how much you train in the heat, it will never be easy, athletes and researchers say. So perhaps the best strategy is to just accept discomfort and slowness. ‘Heat is the X factor,’ Ms. Roth said. ‘Sometimes you have to just forget it and move on.’”

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