The weather is a factor that must be taken into account when doing physical activity. We know that it is not the same to practice it in winter than in summer or to do it in dry regions than in others that are more humid or windy. It is also not the same if you are exercising at a considerable height above sea level. The high temperatures are a factor of consideration for therapists and physical education teachers at the time of the activity. It is important to know about the mechanism of body temperature and its adjustments, such as the importance of hydration before, during and after physical exercise. By the Lic. in Kinesiology and Physiatry Nicolás Righelato
Kinesiology is the art that deals with studying to prevent and cure diseases through movement. Physical exercise is movement at its best. To produce it, energy is needed. That energy is produced from internal cellular combustion, which is also movement. This movement causes as a result an increase in temperature which is necessary to regulate.
The organism, through the autonomous nervous system and its thermoregulation mechanism, automatically takes care of doing it through (mostly) sweating and, another part with urine and evaporation mechanism from breathing. It is essential that this mechanism occurs efficiently and maintains body temperature between 36º and 38º for the proper functioning of the internal organs.
In the case of high temperatures that can cause dehydration and a failure of this mechanism that will cause an increase in temperature above tolerable values, which would lead to a picture with neurological symptoms (vomiting, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, blurred vision , etc.) risky for human life.
Having roughly told about the physiological mechanism of the movement during exercise, it is necessary to go to the practical part. There are factors inherent to clothing, which, as obvious as it may seem, is always good to remember: footwear according to the situation, socks, jogging or shorts (depending on the season), t-shirt or sweatshirt.
Clothing should preferably be light-colored and cotton. Also elements that are useful to dry perspiration. Also, wear a hat if you are going to work in the sun, although it is not recommended at times when the radiation is strongest (between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.). If you are practicing sports, the complementary elements that are available (bandages, shin guards, mouth guards, etc.).
As already mentioned, you have to hydrate before, during and after exercise. In addition to water, it is suggested to consume isotonic drinks to balance the level of electrolytes (minerals that collaborate with the transport of nutrients and energy to the tissues). During the activity, a lot of water and salts are lost, therefore, it is important to have them available to avoid complications that destabilize the body’s thermoregulatory mechanism.
Going more to the physical aspect, it is recommended to do short-term warm-ups. Decrease the intensity of the exercises. Pay attention to any of the symptoms mentioned above as well as others that would have to do with cardiovascular function. Heat predisposes to arterial hypotension. It is also important to take more frequent breaks to hydrate. That the weather does not become a limiting factor, we must learn how to do our activities properly and overcome a sedentary lifestyle.
Editor’s note: Article published in the Educational Material of Icarus Health & Longevity Center, for patients of Pios-Pec and Pios-Pec PER, corresponding to November 2022, ceded for publication in AIM.