Temperatures above 30 degrees and heat waves are increasingly common in our region. Running in the heat can pose risks. If you do not take good care of yourself by drinking enough water or if you are not well prepared for the heat, it can have unpleasant consequences. It is therefore important to be aware of the four most common conditions when running in the heat.
1. MUSCLE CRAMP
A cramp is a painful, involuntary contraction of a muscle. The most common cause of cramping is loss of fluids and salts (electrolytes). Do you feel the cramp coming on? Then it is best to gently shake or gently stretch the affected muscle. It can also help to take a large gulp of isotonic sports drink to immediately replenish the lost minerals and carbohydrates.
Fainting occurs when you stop immediately after strenuous exercise without running out or when you have been in the sun for a long time. The cause is a sudden drop in blood pressure. This drop occurs when blood pools in the wide-open blood vessels in your legs, because the blood is no longer pumped against gravity by the contracting calf muscles. In case of fainting, it is recommended to lie on your back with your legs up. Also find the coolness and have something to drink.
If your body temperature rises as a result of the effort and at the same time the dehydration increases, you can get sunstroke. You can recognise a sunstroke by one of the following symptoms: extreme fatigue, dizziness, headache and extreme sweating. The heart has to pump blood to the skin to cool the body, as well as to the hard-working muscles. If, in addition, the total amount of blood that is pumped around decreases due to the loss of fluids from sweating, the blood pressure drops and the heart rate rises. Even with a sunstroke, it is important that you immediately drink a lot and that you cool your body with ice in the groin, under the armpit and in your neck.
4. HEAT STROKE
Heatstroke is a stage beyond sunstroke. If the heat and moisture loss persist, the circulation of the blood in the skin decreases. You notice this from a heated and dry skin, a fast pulse and a high body temperature (sometimes more than 41 degrees). Heat traps can also lead to convulsions and fatal damage to the nervous system and internal organs. In this condition, it is important to cool the body as quickly as possible and to provide extra fluids. Medical assistance is necessary!
* In cooperation with RunningBE.