There you are: in the throes of a workout and happily sweating your tuchus off, when, without warning, the walls of the world begin to close in on you. Your heart begins to mimic the marching momentum of a runaway train. Sweat glands kick into overdrive and suddenly you’ve become an unwilling participant in a wet t-shirt contest.

Do you sit down? Hell no. You can tough it out, right?

Wrong. Your body is communicating loudly and clearly that it needs to stop and rest– now.

Heat exhaustion (loosely referred to as “overheating”) is when your body’s core temperature reaches its limit and cannot regulate to your surroundings. It can come on quickly, and if not recognized immediately, can turn into something far more dangerous.

Here’s what to look out for:
Excessive sweating
Cold-sweating (goose pimples- regardless of the temperature)
Dizziness
Muscle cramps
Weakness
Nausea
Headache
Confusion

Causes, aside from hot weather and strenuous activity, also include dehydration, recent alcohol consumption, and even the ability of your clothing to effectively manage perspiration. If you are overweight or happen to be taking certain medications, such as antihistamines or beta blockers, you are at a higher risk for heat-related illness.

In most gym situations, your trainer or instructor will see this coming on before even you are aware. If they are responsible, they will be attentive and see to it that you rest and replenish.

So what happens when you are in a large group, where the ratio of participants to professionals is 25:1? Or even 50:1?


This summer, many of us in Colorado are finding ourselves registered for the plenitude of fitness-inspired events taking place, including Fitness on the Rocks, 303‘s exclusive fitness concert partner. These gatherings are held in the name of fundraising for a cause, striving for personal bests, or to just have a plain-old, great time.

Unfortunately, these arenas for fitness tend to leave us to our own, sometimes questionable, devices. Responsibility lies within ourselves and those in our immediate vicinity. I highly recommend introducing yourself to the people around you. Those good Samaritans might just be the ones to assist you if you fall victim to your ambitions and vice versa.

Heat exhaustion and related afflictions can happen to the best of us. Although superhuman (right?), we are ultimately mere mortals who sometimes need to be reminded of this.  Be safe out there. And go SPF yourself.

Jodilyn Stuart is the owner of ModaBody Fitness and has been a fitness professional since 1997. She has recently begun contributing to 303 Magazine as a fitness writer.

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