Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Heat, humidity no sweat for some exercisers - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


By Doug Gulasy

Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012, 8:55 p.m.
Updated 43 minutes ago

Dan Bogesdorfer can’t help it — he enjoys running in the heat.

â€Å"I actually try to push myself the hotter that it gets,” said Bogesdorfer, 43, of Monroeville, who works at the University of Pittsburgh. His route takes him through East Liberty, where he sees â€Å"a big sign that tells you how hot it is that day.

â€Å"When it hits 95, I know I’ve hit my goal and I’m running through the hottest day so far this year.”

Bogesdorfer, who runs in the late morning or early afternoon, has had plenty of chances to achieve his goal this summer.

Through the end of July, the temperature had reached 90 degrees or above 18 times in Pittsburgh this year, according to the National Weather Service — matching the total for all of 2011.

The weather service says is predicting a 50 percent chance that August, typically muggy, will have higher temperatures than normal. Normal high temperatures are 82 at the beginning of the month and 80 at the end.

â€Å"Expect higher than that,” said Lee Hendricks, a meteorologist for the weather service in Moon.

Bogesdorfer, who served in the Army for seven years after high school and now runs 20 to 30 miles a week, said he rarely sees others ouside exercising when he does.

â€Å"If I do, I say: ‘You’re one of the crazy ones, huh?’ ” he said.

Bogesdorfer’s lack of company is probably a good thing, according to local doctors. Although some people like and know how to handle extreme heat, most recreational athletes should alter their workout routines when the weather gets especially hot and humid.

â€Å"I know that the lunchtime workout is a very popular thing, but in the summer, that’s not necessarily the wisest idea because that’s when the sun is at its hottest,” said Moira Davenport, doctor of emergency medicine and sports medicine at Allegheny General Hospital and an avid runner herself. â€Å"It’s that much harder to maintain any effective cooling at that point.”

Medical professionals say people should do whatever they can to stay cool when working out — change exercise times to mornings before 9 a.m. and evenings after 7 p.m.; work out indoors instead of outdoors; wear clothing that wicks away moisture; and make sure to stay hydrated before, during and after workouts.

Doing so can keep dangerous heat illnesses — dehydration, exhaustion, stroke and more — at bay, they said.

Most importantly, people should realize their body has limits.

â€Å"If you start having heat cramps, that’s the time to shut it down,” said Ron DeAngelo, director of sports performance training at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine.

â€Å"You can’t really work through those. You can stop and stretch as you normally would, but when you have heat cramps, if it’s progressed to that point, you’ve got to shut it down, get into a cool area and hydrate.”

He said a heat index — which combines heat and humidity considerations — of 85 is around the point at which people ought to pay special attention to how their body is reacting and make changes. When the heat index hits 95, people should work out inside or not at all.

People who are overweight, just undertaking a fitness program or who have had previous heat-related illnesses are most at risk for trouble, DeAngelo said.

Local officials and gyms say they have noticed an overall difference in people’s activities this summer in response to the heat.

Gary Pinkerton, Butler County’s director of parks and recreation, said he’s noticed more people exercising at the county’s Alameda Park early in the morning. A lot of them stick to the shaded paths, he said.

â€Å"Even in a lot of the local parks that I’ve been to because we’re doing projects in them, you see the walkers and joggers earlier in the day than you normally would simply because of the heat,” Pinkerton said. â€Å"But I don’t think it’s affected the number of people that still go out and participate in those activities.”

As expected, people also are packing the county’s Alameda Pool in greater numbers than normal’ however, one of its biggest amenities — the pool is heated — isn’t necessary this summer.

â€Å"We’re saving a few dollars this year,” Pinkerton said.

Upper St. Clair has both indoor and outdoor pools at its community recreation center, along with an indoor track, workout machines, two gymnasiums and a group exercise room.

Bobby Davenport, fitness supervisor at the center, said the pools — particularly the indoor lap-lane pool — have had the greatest usage this summer.

Even gyms, which typically get less attendance in the summer, have plenty of business this summer.

â€Å"In 100-degree heat, or 90-degree heat with a 105-degree heat index, there’s only so much you can do outside without risking dehydration,” said Mike Reicherter, manager at Fitness Factory in Shadyside. â€Å"Especially older people or people with pre-existing conditions. So we’ve had a pretty busy summer.”

DeAngelo said the biggest â€Å"X-factor” this summer has been the increased humidity — making it more difficult for a person’s sweat to evaporate and thus making it more difficult to stay cool while exercising.

He advises people either to work out inside or not at all when the heat index reaches 95 degrees, particularly if they’re not used to exercising.

Davenport said most people who exercise regularly will still find a way to do it in extreme summer conditions, but they need to take the necessary precautions.

â€Å"It’s just the little things that people (can) do,” she said. â€Å"There’s a whole bunch of different variables that you can change to actually make it safer and more comfortable to exercise in this weather.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or dgulasy@tribweb.com.

You must be signed in to add comments

To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.

There are currently no comments for this story.

Top News stories

Big Ben not bothered by partial rotator cuff tear 9:55 p.m.
By Alan Robinson
Ben Roethlisberger ran downfield hard during a kickoff coverage drill, only to become locked up with a blocker. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin …
Bicyclist struck on Penn Avenue dies 9:59 p.m.
By Bobby Kerlik
Hours after the second fatal bicycle crash in a week, Pittsburgh officials said Wednesday they are setting up an alternate bike route …
Public Safety Director denies he withheld firefighter’s sick pay
By Tribune-Review
Public Safety Director Michael Huss on Wednesday denied in a federal court document that he withheld a retired Pittsburgh firefighter’s sick pay because the firefighter talked to the media about a public works snafu. David …
NCAA tabs former Sen. George Mitchell as PSU integrity monitor
By The Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE — Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell will serve as the independent athletics integrity monitor at Penn State University for the …
DA’s office seeks 1 trial for Supreme Court justice, sister on corruption charges 9:59 p.m.
By Adam Brandolph
Legal observers and political watchdogs debated on Wednesday whether suspended Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin should resign as she awaits trial on corruption charges. â€Å"We do think she’s innocent until proven guilty, but what …
8th-inning flurry propels Pirates over Cubs 9:26 p.m.
By Rob Biertempfel
CHICAGO — The tunnel that leads into the visiting dugout at Wrigley Field is a tight squeeze for any player, let alone …
News Alert 10:07 p.m.
By Timothy Puko

Top stories

Penguins hire new management firm to operate Consol arena 9:49 p.m.
By Jeremy Boren
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Wednesday the team will replace the management firm that has run Consol Energy Center and the former Civic …
Verona’s New Olde Bank becomes Downtown’s Smithfield Street Theatre
By Alice T. Carter
Sporting a new name and a new location, the former New Olde Bank Theatre of Verona opens Friday as the Smithfield Street …
Kovacevic: Pirates’ front office not ‘all in’
By Dejan Kovacevic
Clint Hurdle loves to use the phrase â€Å"All in” with the Pirates’ coaches and players, and it’s been easy all summer to …
Subscribe today & get the all digital eTRIB! Click here for our subscription offers.

No comments:

Post a Comment