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Hanging on in the Heat: Practicing Pole & Aerial in Summer Months

Aerialist after sweaty workout

It seems like a good time to drop some knowledge about working out in a heat wave...

If you're an Aerialist anywhere as hot as Texas is right now, you're probably thinking about how to hang on with sweaty hands, how much working out is safe in the heat, and how you should adjust your training in a heat wave. Here's a quick run down of things to consider when practicing pole or aerial in the Summer.

1. Respect the Danger of Extreme Heat:

Exercising in extreme heat can pose risks to your health and well-being. It's important to be aware of and acknowledge the dangers and take necessary precautions.

Here are a few important risks not to ignore:

Dehydration: Sweating excessively in high temperatures can lead to dehydration, which not only affects your performance, but also your overall health. Water (and therefore all of the fluids in your body) has a special chemical property called high specific heat, which facilitates keeping your body temperature cooler longer when exposed to high temperatures. The volume of water in your body helps it do this effectively.

Hyponatremia: Water is great, but in extreme heat, it's important that you're not just taking in water alone if you're sweating excessively. Sweat contains a mixture of water and salts called electrolytes. When replacing water but not the electrolytes, you can create an imbalance. These electrolytes control the complex flow of hormones, neurons, energy and more that control nearly every system in your body. Electrolyte imbalance is called hyponatremia when there is a low salt to water ratio. Its symptoms can show up as low workout performance or tolerance in the beginning. As it becomes more severe (and dangerous to your health) symptoms can include headache, dizziness, fatigue, and confusion.

Heat Exhaustion: Prolonged exposure to heat can cause symptoms like dizziness, weakness, nausea, and even fainting. Heat exhaustion requires immediate attention. It is a warning sign that the body is on its way to heatstroke.

Heatstroke: The most severe heat-related illness, heatstroke, is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms include a high body temperature, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and even loss of consciousness or death.

2. Essential Tips for Working Out Safely in Extreme Heat:

Hydration is Key: Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout. Make it a point to hydrate at least 2 hours before your workout so you don't start at a deficit. Water, electrolyte-rich beverages, and coconut water can help replenish lost fluids and minerals. Electrolyte drinks were designed specifically to replace fluids in situations where athletes lose a lot of sweat. Look for a drink low in sugar if you can.

Remember to drink water before, during, and after a workout
Drink water before your workout

Time it Right: Schedule your workouts during cooler hours, such as early morning or late evening, to avoid the peak heat. If you must exercise during the heat of the day, be sure your pole space is well ventilated with working air conditioning.

Clothing: Opt for moisture wicking, breathable fabrics when temps rise. Soak some fun bandanas in water and freeze them overnight and then wrap them around your neck to help keep your body cool. If you're going to be out in the heat for awhile, keep some spares in a cooler or fridge to rotate.

Rest & Recover: If you start feeling unwell, take space and time to cool down and rest. Don't hesitate to seek medical assistance if necessary!

Acclimate: It can be helpful to spend some time outdoors away from the AC during the Spring months as the weather changes in order to allow your body to acclimate before Summer. Even now that Summer is here, spending short periods of time outdoors during cooler times of the day will also help your body adjust to higher temps. But be sure not to overdo it and wear sun protection even when it's cloudy.

3. Pole & Aerial Workout Tips:

Get your grip on sweaty aerial silks

Get a Grip: Not all grip aids are equal and you may find yourself needing an adjustment between seasons. Some grip aids are better for dry hands, while others perform better on sweaty hands. For sweaty summer hands, rosin bags contain powdered rosin, which is a substance derived from tree sap which helps absorb moisture and creates a tacky grip. Liquid chalk is a suspension of magnesium carbonate in an alcohol-based solution. It dries quickly and forms a layer of chalk on your hands, providing excellent grip even when your hands are sweaty. This is a less tacky solution which might work better on bar apparatuses and poles. Antiperspirant lotions are specifically designed to reduce sweating. These lotions contain antiperspirant ingredients that help control moisture and reduce sweating. While they may not provide as strong a grip as rosin bags or liquid chalk, they can be helpful for individuals with mildly sweaty hands, and can be easier to spread on sweaty legs and arms for pole work. Many of the aerial or pole grip aids on the market fall into one of these categories. Take a look at the ingredients list, and don't be afraid to switch things up as seasons change.

Take Care of Equipment: In sweaty weather, keeping studios and equipment clean is extra important to prevent germs from spreading. Also, cleaning poles with alcohol helps prevent them becoming a slippery mess. While apparatuses like aerial silks will likely need more frequent laundering to keep them oil and sweat-free.

Set Realistic Expectations & Monitor Intensity: Understand that your performance may be affected by the heat. Be kind to yourself and adjust your goals accordingly. Reduce the intensity of your workouts in extreme heat. Listen to your body and be mindful of any signs of overheating or exhaustion. Be aware that sometimes you won't notice signs immediately, especially if working out in a hotter environment.

Mix Up Your Routine: Embrace the change of season by trying new activities. Consider swimming, water aerobics, or indoor exercises to keep your fitness routine exciting and engaging. Looking for some strength and conditioning tips to try at home in the AC? Check out my bootcamp offerings here.

With proper safety precautions, we can weather this heat wave. Remember to prioritize your well-being, stay hydrated, and listen to your body's signals. By incorporating these tips into your fitness routine, you'll conquer the summer sizzle and keep making progress towards your goals. Remember slow progress is better than pushing too hard and getting sick or injured in the heat.


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