By Erika Taylor
Exercising in extremely warm conditions is not only a “hot” fitness trend; right now in Denver, it’s just a reality.
For many folks, taking a few precautions can make their warmer training sessions just as safe as more temperature controlled ones. You can read more how-to details about each of the strategies in the piece I wrote in the July 2021 edition.
• Consult your doctor
• Find shade
• Wet a towel for your head or neck
• Go out early or late
• Stay inside
• Take a buddy, go someplace populated or wear a tracker
• Stay hydrated
• SLOW down
• Take more recovery time
• Bring sunscreen
Remember, a great wellness program not only includes workouts and fuel, it sets rest and recovery days and takes into account changes in season, goals, health, and all kinds of other factors—including a timely one you may not think matters to you, and will certainly matter to someone you know.
A recent study published in Scientific American shows that even a mild case of COVID-19 can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems a year after diagnosis, even among people without preexisting conditions.
Given the more than 572 million reported infections worldwide as of July 28 per the World Health Organization, and perhaps millions more going undiagnosed and unreported, it is highly likely that you or someone you know may now belong to the high-risk category when it comes to exertion related heart trouble. Which means it is more important than ever to pay attention to the signals your body sends you.
Signs you should stop exercise immediately:
YOU HAVEN’T CONSULTED YOUR DOCTOR
For anyone beginning or leveling up an exercise habit—especially if you’re at risk for heart disease or have had an illness, infection, or injury—it is key to consult your doctor. A medical professional may provide specific guidelines so you can exercise safely, and they can help you avoid regressing or causing more harm than good.
YOUR HEART RATE DOESN’T COME DOWN WITH REST
“Listen to your heart” is not just an 80s earworm. Our heart should track with our effort—beating faster when our activity increases and coming down when our effort subsides. This aspect of heart rate variability is not only important for obtaining the benefits of exercise but also is a key indicator that things are working properly in your body.
Chest pain is never normal or expected. If you feel chest pain or pressure—especially alongside nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath, or extreme sweating—stop working out immediately and call 911.
YOU’RE SUDDENLY SHORT ON BREATH
We expect our breath to quicken when we exercise. But there’s a difference between shortness of breath due to exercise and shortness of breath due to a potential heart attack, heart failure, exercise-induced asthma or another condition. If activities you could previously perform without being winded suddenly have you gasping for air, stop and call a medical professional.
If stopping for water or a snack doesn’t help, if the lightheadedness is accompanied by confusion or fainting, or it happens repeatedly— you need medical attention. Normal workouts should not make you feel dizzy unless that’s the goal of the activity. Dizzy from twirly spinning like a kid on a playground, fine. Dizzy from spinning on a Peloton, call your doctor.
Cramps, especially chronic or worsening, shouldn’t be ignored. Leg cramps during exercise could signal blood clots and warrant at least a talk with your doctor. No matter where they occur, they are a reason to pause exercising. Even if they stem from dehydration or other mineral imbalance, that’s something you need to address before returning to exertion, especially when the temperature is summery.
And whether you’ve had a COVID infection or not, it’s important to pay attention to your heart beat and seek care when irregularities occur. Fluttering or thumping in the chest may require medical attention. This is a common symptom in people recovering from COVID and other viral infections.
Exercise is for everyone! It just may look different for different seasons of the year and seasons of life. Take precautions, listen to what your body and your medical team are telling you, and set yourself up to find the pace and practice that will work for you and your body for many seasons to come. More on pace and practice and results next month.
And remember, if you wonder, reach out! That’s what I’m here for.
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email erika@ tayloredfitness.com.