Fitness Update: Heat

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This week in fitness had one main theme: Heat.

We have been having a heatwave here in the midwest, with triple digits visiting us in both the heat index, and sometimes the actual temperature.

What does this mean for fitness? Well, for  many people it means they cancel it. For others they just push through it. My personal perspective is that neither is the correct view.

To cancel  means you give up or take a hiatus. When you push through, you are ignoring the conditions. Ignoring the situation is never a good thing.

So what is the option I chose — to relax and go with the flow. Now relax doesn’t mean do anything. I could be relaxed and going with the flow while running a half marathon. It means being aware of yourself and the conditions, and doing activity suitable to both of them.

BTW, I didn’t run a half marathon last week.

What I did was run a 5K, bike several miles, including working commutes and a 20-mile leisure excursion on Saturday, and swim laps in the Caribbean Cooler at Oceans of Fun.

What did change was the tempo. My average speed on the bicycle came down 1-2 mph. My 5K run was close but just a bit slower than normal. I have no timing on the lap swim, but I think it was slower as well.

The human body is designed to adapt to many extremes of heat and cold. We need to watch things like heat exhaustion and frostbite, but within that range the body is able to relax and adapt and perform admirably. So instead of letting temperature and moisture changes get us out of sorts, enjoy them, enjoy the variety, and pay attention to your body to let it do the things it has been naturally programmed to do.

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