Did you know you have 2.6 million sweat glands in your body working to keep you cool by releasing fluids? Sweating causes dehydration, but if you keep the fluids replaced, your body should be able to adapt to the heat – so help them out! Drink lots of water.
Water is important to overall health. It supports bodily systems and improves the complexion, hydrates vision and feeds hair, and that’s just the beginning. In Minnesota summers when the hot, humid, stifling heat hits, a glass of cold water feels rejuvenating. It truly is rejuvenating, as in the heat affects your heart. Be aware of the following:
Rapid Heart Beat – Everyone’s heart beats faster when it’s hot. According to Heart Rate Training, authors Roy Benson and Declan Connolly, “An extremely important factor affecting exercise heart rate is temperature. Warmer temperatures cause the heart to beat faster and place considerable strain on the body. Simply put, when it is hot, the body must move more blood to the skin to cool it while also maintaining blood flow to the muscles. The only way to do both of these things is to increase overall blood flow, which means that the heart must beat faster. Depending on how fit you are and how hot it is, this might mean a heart rate that is 20 to 40 bpm higher than normal. “
While there isn’t anything you can do to prevent your heart beating faster in the heat, you can help yourself by drinking lots of water. To keep hydrated the U.S. National Research Council recommends eight to ten eight-ounce glasses a day. There is also another way to calculate the right amount. First take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half. Now drink that many ounces per day. And always pay attention to what your body is saying, if you are thirsty, drink up!
Existing Heart Condition – For those with an existing heart condition, be aware that extra heat can cause hyperthermia because the heart may not be able to keep the body cool. Keep out of the heat when there is a heat advisory and stay cool.
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