Exercising in Extreme Conditions
While extremely hot and cold temperatures aren’t particularly a barrier to entry when it comes to sport and physical activity, extreme conditions can trigger negative consequences if the participant isn’t diligent and prepared.
If physiological homeostasis and internal body temperature cannot be maintained, whether in a hot or cold environment, conditional injuries, side effects, and diminished performance are the likely result.
Since it’s important to try to maintain physical activity throughout the year, it’s critical for any athlete to be aware of the conditions in which they perform. An athlete must be prepared for performing in less than ideal conditions.
The following will be a discussion of the potential harm that the environment can have on the physical well-being of an athlete. Moreover, we’ll discuss preventative measures that must be taken in order to remain healthy, active, and injury-free, no matter the weather conditions.
Outlook on Exercise in Extreme Conditions
Exercising in extreme conditions, whether hot or cold, places added stress on the body. Without implementing preventative measures to combat such stress, the risk of injury increases dramatically.
When exercising in extreme cold, the body transports its blood supply to the skin and away from the muscles in order to maintain internal temperatures. As a result, the heart rate increases, and less oxygen is delivered to the muscles, which leads to an increased risk of muscular injury. In addition, the athlete’s level of hydration decreases, and muscle cramping can easily result.
On the contrary, when exercising in extreme heat, perspiration levels are affected. As a result, the internal body temperature rises, and the athlete is at higher risk of heat-related conditions like heat stroke.
A lack of understanding of the effects of extreme changes in the environment on the body can cause the athlete that has not prepared to be at risk of severe injury.
The following are several of the most common potential outcomes of unsafe exercise in extreme conditions, both hot and cold:
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Stroke
- Hypothermia & Frostbite
- Muscle Cramps
- Muscle Strain
- Tears and Ruptures
The majority of the outcomes mentioned above typically come with warning signs in the form of symptoms. Upon the occurrence of symptoms, the athlete should halt activity and rest and subsequently seek immediate medical attention.