Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running - Dehydration And The Three Heat Illnesses

Have you been outdoors these last few days? It is HOT, terribly HOT! It is officially summertime and worst the El Niño has hit the country this year. Temperature has risen to a high of 36deg centigrade during mid afternoon and even 26-27deg centigrade early morning and 30-31deg centigrade just after sunset.

Running being already a part of our life and a way of living, we cannot just stop nor can we taper down our daily runs. However, we need to take care of our health which is our main and ultimate goal in running. For this reason, we need to know the different illnesses that can result from running (worst in racing) in hot weather condition. Only by knowing the different effects in our body will we be able to take prudent and preventive measures to avoid these heat related illnesses for us to continue running during the months from March to July.

DEHYDRATION is the most common heat related illness. An average person requires 8-10 glasses of water per day or about 300ml/day. A runner is required to drink fluid all day, not just during our workouts or races. He should not wait to drink fluid when he is thirsty. Thirsty is already a sign of dehydration. It is wise to drink 2-3 glasses (80ml) of fluid at least 30 minutes prior a workout or a race. Drink another 50ml of fluid just before start of activity. During the workout or race drink 50ml of water or sports drink every 15 minutes. If the activity will last more than 1 hour, it is best to take sports drink instead of water.

After a workout or a race it is of utmost importance to replace lost fluids during the activity. We need to take our weight before and after an activity. For every pound (lb) of weight loss during an activity we need to drink at least 650ml. Again sports drink is a better choice than water.

It is also prudent to AVOID coffee, soft drinks, tea and alcohol are substances that contribute to dehydration.

SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION are dark yellow urine, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and lack of concentration.

Heat Related Illness
There are three primary heat related illnesses that are associated with running in hot weather. They are, in order of seriousness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

HEAT CRAMPS – caused by dehydration and loss of minerals. Not a life threatening illness, but can be painful. The symptoms are cramping muscles. Stop running and drink a lot of sports drink immediately. Massage cramping muscles.

HEAT EXHAUSTION – is a more serious illness which could lead to heat stroke. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, goose bumps, extreme fatigue, weakness, weak and rapid pulse, heavy sweating, uncoordinated stride or vomiting. Stop running immediately and seek medical attention. Lie down with your feet elevated. Drink a lot of sports fluid and try to cool body with cold water or cold towel.

HEAT STROKE – extremely serious and can be fatal. If the symptoms of heat exhaustion are ignored, heat stroke is the resultant illness. On most cases, heat stroke is manifested by lack of sweating. The condition requires immediate medical attention. A runner suffering from heat stroke will be mentally incapacitated or unconscious. The runner should be moved on a cool place and his body cooled with towels soaked in cold water or ice until medical help arrives.

Know the above conditions so that you could take appropriate preventive measures running on hot weather condition and if and should such an illness befalls on you, know the actions to take. Have a safe summer running.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Sir Amado! During BDM, I had to be soaked in ice towels and hosed down every 10- 15 minutes just to survive. Heat can really cut down anyone on any given day.