Sun, 6 January 2019
Both mental and physical health are critical for athletic performance. Environmental conditions also play a crucial role. What happens to your body when you’re exposed to extremes of cold and heat? Can your body adapt to these conditions? It’s important to know what happens to the body during extremes of temperature, what science has taught us about human environmental limits, and ways we can do to safely take out endurance to the next level.
WHAT WE COVER:
In a word….yes, but, in moderation. First, two terms to review:
- Hyperthermia – that’s when the body is too hot and in the extreme, can lead to heatstroke. This happens when there’s an uncontrolled increase in body temp and it exceeds the body’s ability to lose heat. Depending on how it’s measured typically hyperthermia begins when your core body temp is above 100.5F (38C) and extreme hyperthermia is at 104F (40C). Why it’s bad is that key enzymes in the body start to break down. And at about 106F cells start to die. Remember our normal body temp is 98.6F (37C)
Now with this, I’m talking about internal or core body temperature obviously the external temp can be much higher. The key, your body’s ability to lose the heat, stay hydrated and maintain your core temperature. Everything is about homeostasis or balance.
- Now how about Hypothermia – that’s the opposite extreme. It’s when the body loses more heat than it can absorb. This begins once body core temp goes below 95F and starts with shivering because that’s a way for your body to try and increase body temp. Once internal temps reach about 86F (30C) cellular metabolic processes start to shut down and this makes walking almost impossible. Now that’s the extreme but there’s a lot in between. Most humans can’t withstand internal core temps below 70F.
Many of the boundaries that describe what a typical human can survive are relatively well established. You may have heard the reference the “rule of threes” that’s air, water, and food. It equal to 3 min, 3 days, and 3 weeks respectively so that’s …3 min without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Yet, we’ve all heard of some that have exceeded those limits and pushed the boundaries of what we thought humanly possible. Training and exposure to extremes of temperature, when done properly, can unlock a form of environmental conditioning and your tolerance can increase. But, as always know your limits, be in tune with your body, and stay hydrated.
KEY TERMS & IDEAS:
LINKS & RESOURCES:
Follow Nada on LInkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/nada-milosavljevic-35b502b9/
Sage Tonic www.sagetonic.com
Sage Tonic on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sagetonic/
“Between extremes: health effects of heat and cold” Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Nov; 123(11): A275–A279.
“How thermoregulation can give athletes an edge (mission athletecare)” Korey Stringer Institute, Univ of Conn, May 17, 2015.
“What doesn’t kill us: how freezing water, extreme altitude, and environmental conditioning will renew our lost evolutionary strength” by Scott Carney Jan 3, 2017.
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Producer: Marion Abrams, Madmotion, llc.
Writer and Host: Nada Milosavljevic MD, JD
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