Soaring daytime temperatures have brought an early start to the UAE summer – and with it comes a warning about exercising safely in the heat.
Average temperatures for May are about 31°C, but desert winds from the south pushed the mercury closer to 40°C for much of the month.
Temperatures were above 49°C in one area of Dubai on Sunday.
Such temperatures can lead to heatstroke, say doctors.
But despite sweltering days, health professionals said exercise programmes could continue safely and offered advice to those working and playing outside.
“Heat fatigue, exhaustion or stroke are issues that can arise, particularly in anyone not used to these really high temperatures,” said Dr Mohamed Muthiullah, a consultant cardiologist at Burjeel Hospital for advanced surgery in Dubai.
“It can increase the load placed in the heart as the body tries to cool down in the heat, and this can cause potential problems, so we need to be careful.”
When the human body reacts to heat stress, it works significantly harder to retain a core temperature of about 37°C.
The nervous system responds to high temperatures, with internal sensors asking the brain to dilate blood vessels, causing more blood to circulate and lose heat.
If external air is warmer than body temperature, sweat glands aid the process.
An active person can easily sweat out two litres of water an hour, with hands and torso the most concentrated areas.
If the body temperature rises to 44°C, the brain falters, causing confusion, agitation, slurred speech and, in extreme cases, coma.
“Heat-related illnesses are largely preventable, so exercise routines don’t have to be sidelined when the heat is on,” said Dr Muthiullah.
“We should keep in mind rising temperatures, get acclimatised and keep an eye on any weather alerts.
“A golden rule is if you are used to exercising indoors or in cooler climates, then take it easy.
“It will usually take 10 days to two weeks to acclimatise to the hotter weather, and then gradually we can slowly increase intensity at cooler times of the day.”
A decade-long study in 2010 by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 8,081 heat related deaths across America, with a third of victims aged 65 and above.
A heatwave in France in 2003 resulted in 15,000 deaths in little more than a fortnight. Most victims were elderly or overweight.
In March, a young Australian soldier died days after collapsing during a training exercise in Darwin, one of the country’s hottest cities.
Dehydration adds to heat stress and risk of serious injury, so staying hydrated offers some protection but cannot guard against overheating.
Doctors said cooling the body with ice packs or cold water was an effective way to reduce core temperature during and after a workout.
Read the full article click here