Appointments

800.659.7822

Request an Appointment

Questions

800.659.7822

Contact us with Questions

Expand Content

Exercise & the Heat

By: Gordon Blackburn, PhD
Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation Program

As we shed the heavy coats of winter for the shorts and swimsuits of summer, we can quickly identify the additional pounds gained since the fall. At this point many of us may aggressively re-initiate our activity programs to help expend additional calories to help shed the unwanted weight. However, exercising in the summer should be approached with some caution and planning.

Exercising in the summer should be approached with some caution and planning

The added thermal load of the bright, warm sunshine also increases the stress on the heart, especially during activity. As the heart works to provide blood and oxygen to the exercising muscles, it must also shunt blood the skin where it can be cooled by the evaporation of our sweat. In addition, for every degree the body’s internal temperature rises the heart beats approximately 10 bpm faster. Exercise plus higher body temperatures and the added work of shunting blood for cooling can dramatically increase the stress on the heart during an exercise session in the heat of summer.

When exercising in the summer, it is wise to exercise in the cooler morning or evening hours to minimize the thermal stress. On hot, humid days it is best to slow your normal exercise pace too. Monitoring of your exercise heart rate and staying within the ranges prescribed by your exercise physiologist or rehabilitation staff will help you adjust your exercise level for the added thermal load and avoid overtaxing the heart. If the temperature is above 80° F and the humidity above 80%, it’s best to postpone outside activity until things cool off.

If your exercise session will be longer than 30 minutes, maintenance of hydration (fluid) is also important. Drink 8–12 oz. of water 20–30 minutes prior to exercise plus 6–10 oz. additional every 30 minutes of exercise to help prevent dehydration. For most individuals, water is an acceptable fluid replacement. Unless your exercise sessions exceed an hour and your fluid and electrolyte loss is extensive and chronic, sports drinks add unnecessary sodium and calories.

Remember too to dress for the temperature and the activity. Rubber suits or long sleeved sweat-suits, that prevent evaporation of sweat, interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself and can raise body temperatures to dangerously high levels. Wear loose fitting cotton t-shirts, shorts and a brimmed hat when exercising outside in the summer.

Be heart-smart, stay active and reap the benefits of regular exercise all year round.

To make an appointment with an exercise specialist or to join a cardiac rehabilitation program, contact the Cleveland Clinic Preventive Cardiology - 216.444.9353 or 800.223.2273 ext. 9353.

Reviewed: 12/13

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

Schedule an Appointment

Toll-free 800.659.7822

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2015 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic

Read the Latest from Our Experts About » cctopics » Heart & Vascular Health
Heart Transplant Patients Enjoying Longer Lives
8/3/15 8:39 a.m.
In 2014, the Cleveland Clinic’s Cardiac Transplant Program marked its 30th anniversary, having performed more than 1,600 heart transplants in that time. About 4,000 heart t...
by Heart & Vascular Team
The Truth About 5 Common Dietary Supplements for Heart Health
7/29/15 8:53 a.m.
People often ask about how dietary supplements can affect heart health. Could taking particular vitamins or sup...
Endocarditis: How One Patient Beat This Deadly Disease
7/27/15 8:25 a.m.
“My 27-year-old patient was on a ventilator in intensive care. No one expected her to survive,” says Gösta Pett...
Your Feet Hold Clues to Clogged Arteries
7/23/15 11:00 a.m.
Clogged arteries in your legs or arms can signal potentially lethal blocked coronary arteries. Read more to lea...
5 Heart-Healthy Grilling Options for Your Next Cookout
7/22/15 8:12 a.m.
Most meat lovers already know the ugly truth: Eating red meat can increase your risk of heart disease. Study af...