As the American Heart Association reminds at this time of year, exercising outside in hot and humid conditions is hard on your heart.
Everyone looks forward to summer’s warm weather and sultry breezes, but a word to the wise for the recovering — even recovered – cardiac patient.
Exercise has certainly been established as a key component in any cardiac-recovery regimen. Yet in this case, like any other, one certainly is not looking to overdo it. Cardiologists are always warning patients about doing too much. In fact, hot weather has taken its toll on finely tuned athletes as well as “normal” people. It can spell trouble very easily for the patient with a weakened heart.
As the American Heart Association reminds at this time of year, exercising outside in hot and humid conditions is hard on your heart. In such weather, the heart and body are really doing double-duty. While your heart attempts to provide working muscles with blood and oxygen, the body is trying to cool itself off by sweating. All this decreases your total blood volume, meaning your heart has to work harder. If you are a recovering cardiac patient, you know your heart has even more limitations.
One must also attempt — no matter what physical shape he or she is in –to not suffer dehydration. This starts by recognizing the symptoms of heat exhaustion (heavy sweating, cold, clammy skin, dizziness or fainting, weak and rapid pulse, muscle cramps, fast, shallow breathing, nausea, vomiting, or all of the above) and heat stroke (warm, dry skin with no sweating, strong and rapid pulse, confusion or unconsciousness, high fever, throbbing headache, nausea or both), which is quite dangerous.
So what might one do to bolster an exercise program that keeps the heart tuned in torrid temperatures? Follow these simple rules:
Much of this involves common sense, especially if your heart is not at top strength after a cardiac event. Chances are, if you followed your cardiologist’s ordered regimen of diet, medication and exercise, you are feeling as good as ever. Just don’t overdo it if you live in an area of coming heat and humidity.