Fitness Update: Heat

We have  been having some hot weather here is the Kansas City area, not enough yet to make us think the rest of the summer will be hot, but enough to expect this to be one of several spells of heat we are likely to get.

In non-fitness posts I have mentioned starting gardening again this year, and our unique corn growing method. I’m not going to discuss the growing method here. I’m going to make an observation about corn, and then, make it fit into fitness.

My dad told me that corn grew to maturity in a certain number of “degree days”. Corn grows when the temperature gets to a certain point, I think around 60, and then grows until the temperature is too hot, after 90. The number of growinh days where the temperature stay in that range are the degree days, and a certain number of them is required for maturity.

So a day can be either too hot or  too cold for the corn to grow. On a hot Illinois day, when it creeps to night, you might walk into a corn field and hear it crackling from the growth. All the pent up energy collected during the day, when it was too hot to grow, is being made up during the night, when it is finally cool enough.

My fitness for people note is that heat, or cold, should affect our ability to make the gains, or the performance we expect from workouts. I have noticed that I need to wear a sweat band virtually any time I am outside doing anything anymore. The performance of my body does well keeping up with the heat, but it does so by a VERY efficient and prodigious use of my eccrine glands to perspire.

Make sure you adjust appropriately for the temperature, and that you don’t get stressed when system like the eccrine glands are doing their duty to regulate your body’s temperature. Getting nervous about this natural and beneficial process makes you both physically and psychologically more stressed and less productive.

So I have, for example, been taking jogs, interspersed with short runs and walks, that keep me working out but put the heat level where I want it. It determines my pace of the day. And thus endurance is better.


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