CARVILLE: Hotter times coming | TheUnion.com

CARVILLE: Hotter times coming

Phil Carville
Fitness Columnist

I was in Roseville this weekend and it was 107 degrees. The forecast for this summer is for even 'hotter' weather — among the hottest on record. The means heat waves which can be dangerous.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that even short exposure to high temperatures can cause serious health problems and even death. The July 1995 heat wave in Chicago caused 700 deaths. The 2003 summer heat wave in Europe resulted in 10,000 deaths. Scientists predict similar heat waves in the future will occur up to three times more often each year if greenhouse emissions continue to increase

NEEDLESS DEATHS

In the early 1960's I was in Marine boot camp in Quantico, Virginia. This was officer training, so the physical component was super rigorous. Each week there were long hikes, 10 to 20-plus miles, with full gear — helmets, rifles and 40-plus pound packs.

There we were several hundred of us in three companies, running, jogging, marching up and down hills, through streams, bushwhacking our way through the swamps of tideland Virginia. The pace was strict and frequently people would succumb to the heat and fall immobile or pass out.

The Marine Corps philosophy at that time was that a super-conditioned Marine could endure the heat and go without water for extended periods. Not so! Two 'conditioned' recruits in our battalion died that summer. The Corps no longer subscribes to that philosophy.

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HEAT STROKE

We are talking about heat stroke — a medical condition caused by exposure to high heat and humidity. There are several related conditions: heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting) and heat rash. There are more heat-related deaths annually in the United States than deaths caused by tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes combined.

THE CAUSE

Your body normally self-regulates its internal temperature by releasing sweat which cools when it evaporates… lowering your skin temperature. However, when air temperatures are above 95 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity is 35 percent or greater, sweat will not evaporate quickly and your body can not cool. This can be a medical emergency.

Without additional fluid losses and electrolyte balances, your body temperature can rise rapidly causing damage to the brain and other vital organs. If you are 65 or older, over-weight, have heart disease, poor circulation or use drugs or alcohol, you are a greater risk, so be careful when exerting outdoors.

SUBTLE SYMPTOMS

These may include throbbing headache, dizziness, lack of sweating despite the heat, hot dry skin, muscle weakness, nausea, rapid hearth beat and rapid shallow-breathing. If you are experiencing these during a hot day, call 911 immediately.

PREVENTION

Here are some common-sense recommendations when you are outside this summer: wear loose and lightweight clothing, drink plenty of water, never leave a person or a pet in a parked car, take precautions with certain medications, get acclimated if exercising at high altitudes and take it easy during the hottest part of the day.

DON'T FORGET TO EXERCISE

Despite the heat, you need to continue to exercise, especially if you are a senior. Exercise slows the aging process, lengthens your life span, makes you happier, improves your body composition and can boost brain health. Don't let a heat wave dissuade you from exercising.

Try walks or slow jogs in Empire Mine Park in the early morning, spend some time at the River, Scotts Flat or Rollins lakes. Work out in air-conditioned environments.

I am believer in summer indoor-exercise. Develop an exercise program that is indoors and fun. Attend group exercise classes with friends, use treadmills or elliptical machines, try free weights, get a trainer, or take Yoga or Qi Gong — finish off your session with a dip in the pool. There are plenty of enjoyable ways to exercise in a 70-degree indoor environment.

BE SMART

Be the 'tortoise' — not the 'hare' this summer. Don't overdo it. Having fun and staying healthy is your priority while being mindful of what the greenhouse gases are conjuring up outside. Maybe someday we may even get smart about those greenhouse gases: 97 percent of scientists and 70 percent of the America public believe global warming is caused by man's activity.

Until our NGGIQ (National Greenhouse Gas IQ) goes up a few points, remember what Yogi Berra said about the weather, "It ain't the heat, it's the humility."

Phil Carville is a co-owner of the South Yuba Club. He is happy to respond to questions or comments. He can be reached at philc@southyubaclub.com

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