If there is slight downside to the excellent weather conditions we are experiencing it is the fact that it does offer certain challenges to those taking exercise.
Whether training as an elite athlete or simply getting out to keep fit, it is important to take into account the conditions before you head out. As a lecturer in Sports Therapy & Rehabilitation and Sports Science at Athlone Institute of Technology and former Irish international rower, Niamh Ni Cheilleachair, is in a perfect position to offer advice on the measures to take.
According to Niamh, who is in the process of being accredited by ARTI, taking a sensible approach to training in the heat is the first step, as she offers some practical tips.
“A lot of it is common sense but sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of the stuff we should do. There can be a tendancy to stick to the same routine we are used to and forget the little things that can help.
“The first thing is to choose light coloured clothing of a material that will allow you to sweat. If sweat is allowed to stay on your body, it restricts the ability to sweat more and as a result you don’t cool down”, explained Niamh.
She added that chosing the right suncream is also important in this regard as some can be quite thick and again restrict the sweating process.
“Hydration is also a big factor as it is important to get plenty of fluid in before training and also to take it on every 15 minutes ranther than waiting until you feel thirsty.
“In order to replace salt that is lost through sweating, it may also be a good idea to take an electrolyte. After long sessions, a dioralyte may be taken or perhaps just an extra bit of salt on your dinner”, she added.
Niamh, a native of Tullamore, who represented Ireland in the Womens Double Sculls at a number of World Championships, reminds athletes of all levels to keep an eye on their diet during the hot weather.
“Nutrition is always an important part of any programme, but in the hot weather we can lose our appetite so you have to remember to maintain you normal nutrition and keep up your food intake.
“There are other simple precautions you can take such as avoiding the hot time of the day between 10am and 3pm, and taking your exercise either in the morning or evening. If possible stay in the shade and if have an indoor element to your progamme then look to do that when it is particularly hot outside”, added Niamh who is an accredited physiologist with the Irish Institute of Sport.
As well as taking the necessary precautions in advance of training it is vital to keep an eye on warning signs during exercise such as cramp, feeling nauceous, headaches and weakness, with Niamh’s advice being not to be afraid to take a break.