Embracing the Elements - Extreme Weather Training


Contributor - Nancy Abdalla

Establishing an impactful training program is tough enough. And if you are one for taking your fitness outdoors you can face challenging elements like cold or hot weather which can impact your performance and comfort significantly. But there is good news: research has shown that you can harness extreme weather conditions for your personal training gain. Michael Joyner, M.D., an endurance athlete and expert in human performance at the Mayo Clinic states, “in the cold, your body can regulate its temperature a little better, meaning you can often exercise farther or longer, so you can burn more calories.”

On the other hand, exercising in extreme heat puts extra stress on your body. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. It’s important to be in tune with your body and listen to the signals its sending you. For sustained performance in hot conditions there are a few safeguards to consider: staying hydrated and avoiding over heating. WATER, WATER, WATER!!!! Can’t get enough of this good stuff. Water is essential because it helps rid your body of the toxins that are released from your muscles during a workout as well as keeps you hydrated (and countless other benefits).

Another way to stay safe whether you’re killing it in a sweaty spin class or you signed up for a Sahara race is pulse point cooling. Pulse points essentially are areas where you can feel your pulse because your blood vessels are close to the surface of your skin. Because they are so close, however, you can also cool off your blood and body temperature by getting the area in contact with a cool application. Cooling your pulse points helps to thermoregulate your body which delays fatigue. The body contains many pulse points but the wrist and the neck tend to be the most convenient and accessible during exercise.

So now that you are armed with all this knowledge…don’t shy away from the elements. Being prepared and having the right gear is half the battle to having an effective and fun workout.