It's Not Just The Heat, It's The Humidity

by Jeannie Dalmas

Heat-related illnesses are one of the most common sports related conditions. It occurs as the result of prolonged exposure to heat, humid weather, and increased activity (compounded by sunlight, the Heat Index, concrete, and asphalt).

Briefly, sweating acts like our natural cooling system. As sweat evaporates from our skin, it cools us off. However, our personal cooling system can fail if we overexert ourselves on hot and humid days. When this happens our body heat can climb to dangerous levels resulting in heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is one of the body’s safety valves and functions to stop the body from working when the heat-loss system is overtaxed. In essence, the body is simply trying to prevent a greater rise in body temperature and the extremely harmful effects of heat stroke. On a race engine with a radiator leak, too much heat buildup causes the engine to lose power, and it will eventually seize. So just like the temperature guage on a racebike that monitors engine heat, monitor your own symptoms to prevent any potential problems. Racers don't hesitate to pull in when their bike is overheating, so don't be afraid to find shade or air-conditioning if you have any of these symptoms.