Telephone interview with Dr. Bettina Schaar on “Exercising in the heat”
moveguard:Good morning Mrs. Dr. Schaar. High temperatures of more than 30° C are not optimal to exercise. What do athletes have to keep in mind?
Dr. Bettina Schaar:Even if it’s already commonly known – I still want to repeat it: drink, drink, drink! Drink water regularly before you get thirsty. If you keep forgetting to drink on a regular basis, I recommend to have one or two water bottles within easy reach at your workplace. In this way you remember to drink every now and then.
moveguard:When is the best time to exercise or should I really train when it is that hot?
Dr. Schaar:It does make sense to train, but you should definitely avoid midday heat and strong sun radiation. That is why it is better to exercise in the morning or in the evening when it is not that hot anymore. Apart from the high temperatures and sun radiation you should keep an eye on the ozone level in your region (you get information on the current ozone levels on the radio or the press). Usually, they are higher in the evening. For this reason I recommend exercising in the morning.
moveguard:Which effect does sun radiation have on my training?
Dr. Schaar:In general, the best protection is not to train in the blazing sun, but rather in the shade. Apart from the UV radiation, the warmth that has an effect on the body, is extremely high. If the Meteorological Service forecasts 30° C in the shade, the temperatures measured in the sun are much higher. It is important to wear loose and breathable clothing and to cover your head with a hat or the like. The heat also affects the soil – due to the heat usually soft mossy soils are dried out and can get hard as concrete. In this case you should use runners with a stronger damping.
moveguard:Which additional advice do you want to give our athletes?
Dr. Schaar:Train sensibly and listen to your body. If your body does not tolerate high temperatures at all you should look for alternatives in the gym or in indoor swimming pools. It is very important to wear functional and breathable clothing which prevents heavy transpiration. And finally again: drink a lot of water!
Dr. Bettina Schaar, University of the Federal Armed Forces, Departement of Sports Science, is expert in the fields of recreational sport and training science.