How to Build Heat Tolerance
Now take a deep breath because it’s about to get much worse. Weather predictions claim that the heat is here to stay. We lived through July, but there are more heat waves where that came from!
Despite the grim news, however, scientists are well aware of the fact that the human body is an incredible piece of machinery, capable of so much more than we can imagine. Given enough time, our bodies can adapt to almost anything. From living in extreme cold and no sunlight, to living on as little food and water as possible, to, of course, surviving and even thriving in extreme heat.
As with all things, adapting takes time and patience. If done hastily and without preparation and/or respect for nature, attempting to get used to certain climate conditions can prove to be incredibly dangerous.
Don’t sweat, though (pun absolutely intended)! We’ve got you covered. Here’s to acclimatize yourself to the heat without suffering (or with as little suffering as possible):
Acclimatization means exposing yourself to certain conditions. In this case, those conditions are heat and humidity. The trick is to begin slowly, and gradually increase the time you spent under said conditions.
By doing this, you cause your body to adapt on a physiological level. This is especially true if you’re physically active whilst exposed. These adaptations increase your endurance and resilience to the heat (or cold) and improve your body’s ability to perform.
As you gradually increase your exposure, your heart rate slows down, your body’s core temperature drops, and you start sweating more efficiently. This is because your plasma (blood plasma) volume increases, making your heart’s job easier. This makes it so your body can retain fluids, especially electrolytes, much better.
Before you actually start, please keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to jump straight in when the hottest heat waves come around. Prepare for them ahead of time, and if you’re not well-prepared, stay indoors with the AC on full blast and enjoy your heat-free life.
Also, be mindful of any health conditions, your fitness level, the medications you’re taking, and, of course, your age. Last but definitely not least, have a water bottle near you 24/7 and make sure you’re well hydrated!
Step by step guide on how to endure the heat
Keep it very, very simple
Start by walking.
This is the first, but also the most important step. Heat acclimatization depends on the level of stress you put your body under. The more taxing it is, the better your body’s response will be. Bear in mind, though, that going overboard can be harmful. So, try hard but not that hard.
If at any point you start feeling unwell, or the thought of imminent death starts looming over you, stop. Stop, rest, and get to a safe place. You might be inclined to continue and get it over with, but there are physiological limits that even the toughest people cannot overcome.
Despite your body’s ability to adapt, overexposing it can lead to serious damage. Be mindful of that and take it easy.
Take time to rest
Have you ever felt tired during those long summer afternoons? Yeah, that’s because the heat actually drains your energy. Literally. Now, try to imagine that you’re walking around at 2 PM, trying to get yourself accustomed to the heat. Chances are, once you get home, to the safety of your AC, you’re going to flop down and fall asleep, or at least into a state of rest.
That’s exactly what you should do. After all, if you don’t think you can get used to summer’s heat waves, it’s safer to just stay in well air-conditioned spaces and only go outside if absolutely necessary.
Don’t worry; sitting in the office with the AC running won’t cause you to lose your heat adaptations, just because your body is not actively relying on them. It’s totally fine.
And that about wraps it up! Have a wonderful summer and don’t forget to wear sun protection, it’s a life-saver!