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Heat stroke: How to recognize your symptoms and how to avoid it?

Heat stroke is what happens when our body overheats

Our friends Zone3, leading brand in wetsuits and accessories for triathlon and swimming they tell us in this article how we can detect heat stroke as well as a series of tips to avoid it.

For us who live in Spain, with cold winters, going out to train and not sweating in winter is more than normal. To be fair, it's easy to forget about hydrating yourself while exercising or even in everyday life. But in a world in which we all look to scratch those seconds to the clock, we cannot forget such important things as hydration.

Athletes with over-motivation can "overheat" by training too fast or trying to hold on for too long / distance. An example of this is the flovely pictures in Hawaii with the seven times winner of the Ironman, Paula Newby-Fraser, losing their advantage, passing by the aid stations and, at the end of the race, collapsing near the goal. After resting, cooling his body slightly, and hydrating, he was able to walk to the finish line. He suffered a heat stroke that day. But what is heat stroke really?

Heat stroke symptoms
Heat stroke symptoms

What is it and who can suffer it?

Simplifying, a heat stroke is what happens when our body overheats. There is many environmental and personal factors that contribute to heat stroke; In general, it can be caused by:

  • A combination of warm and humid environment
  • A very intense exercise
  • Clothes that do not evaporate well the sweat
  • Inadequate adaptation to heat


Heat stroke can affect everyone. However, given the hot and humid environments in which races can participate, and the strenuous exercise required, athletes can be very vulnerable.

The most common scenario is a difficult race or training session in a hot and humid environment.

We begin to sweat more than we drink; Athletes, in a hot environment, You can get to sweat from 1 to 2 liters per hour.

In this first stage of dehydration increases heart rate and the effort to do the same work increases; Dehydration Drains Mental Acuity and willpower, along with muscle power and endurance.

How to prevent heat stroke

Prevention of heat stroke depends on the acclimatization, hydration, stimulation, cooling y surveillance.

Once heat stroke is detected, at an early stage, most athletes treated on time will most likely be able to return to competing / training safely even within a few minutes.

Therefore, if you want to make sure you avoid a heat stroke, keep in mind the following points:

Acclimatization before the event.

Much of this takes place a week or two before the race. Increase the intake of water and electrolytes, This will help the body retain water and salt, increasing blood volume, causing the heart to pump more blood at a lower heart rate.

Athletes acclimatized to the heat sweat faster, in greater volume and in a wider body area, to stay cooler.

A week or two of moderate physical activity in hot conditions, for example, running 30 to 45 minutes a day, can activate acclimatization to the heat.

Stay Cool

Athletes who stay fresh compete better. Take every opportunity to get in the shade, drink and refresh the body by pouring water over it. Wear a ventilated cap or a visor that you can soak in water, or even take a sponge from the supply.

As the temperature increases, slightly slow down to allow the body to stabilize again.

Use the right equipment

Wear clothing suitable for the hot conditions in which you are going to compete. Search light suits and breathable, like the Lava, which will allow sweat to evaporate from the body. We also suggest a aim ass and sunglasses to keep the sun at bay.

Drink sensibly

Hydration helps prevent heat stroke, but there is no advantage to consuming more liquid than what is lost by the sweat. In the same way, it is not necessary to overhydrate the night before or during the hours leading up to a long race or race.

Además, consume foods with a high water content (fruits and vegetables). A sports drink is recommended, apart from running water, since it has sugars to feed the muscles and the brain, a flavor to encourage you to drink and sodium to contain the fluid in the body, which helps replace sweat losses.

Common Mistakes

Athletes who are overly motivated by pride believe that there are no limits. They ignore the warning signs and that is the most dangerous decision.

In the case of heat stroke, the saying "Thinking about the goal" does not work. Train, don't try. Start slowly. Only massive bleeding is worse than intense exercise in extreme heat for the cardiovascular system, take note!

The pace and duration of your workouts / competitions should «Start low and increase slowly». This is a difficult thing to do when motivated, but if you stick to it, you will finish the race hard!

In summary

If you are training or going to compete in hot and humid conditions, never forget to stay hydrated. Do it combining sports drinks and water, runs comfortably, avoid long runs and "read" your body.

Most importantly, seek help at the first symptoms if you are not feeling well, before it goes any further.


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