I am beginning to feel that high humidity is dangerous for Functional Fitness


It’s the humidity that will kill ya!

We all know how hard humidity can be on us. If you don’t know this, you live someplace you should never, ever, ever, ever move away from. I especially noticed this lately with some workouts and have had some fellow Functional Fitness junkies agree. Some of my favorite K-Bootcamp workouts from last summer have kicked my butt this year. I mean, I couldn’t finish them. I  knew it was humid on those days, but I was dying!

There is actually some science behind this.  As usual, I’ll give you my unofficial, idiot’s guide. You generate heat during exercise and your body needs to sweat to cool itself. Well in high humidity, the sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly, which causes your body temp to rise. Also, the sweat loss from exercising descreases your blood volume,  putting more work on your heart to pump the small amount to working muscles. This raises your heartrate.

Humidity = body temp up, heartrate up = you aren’t able to do the workout as intensely as usual.

More importantly than your ego here though is the serious health concerns of heat stress. Pay attention to headaches, fatigue (worse than normal), profuse sweating (again hard to tell here), and muscle spasms or cramps.  If you are worried, it isn’t worth it – stop, get into a cool place and replenish your fluids.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. ridin

    I feel your pain. Solid studies show what’s involved in heat acclimatization: 1-2 weeks of hi-temp misery, then proven performance benefits. The humidity though…I tell myself that it’s training for the willpower. And then I have to hang my workout clothes up for 24 hours because they’re too disgusting even to go in the laundry basket. {sigh}

  2. Aaron

    Case in point: Tuesday’s K-Fit workout: humid as heck. Kept it relatively short but intense. My ears were ringing at the end, and I could feel the increased blood volume.

    Yesterday: 3.5 mile run. Warm and humid again, but a cold front was coming in, so the wind was starting to pick up. Felt better, but still not great. Had to incorporate walk breaks to not overheat.

    Today: Way less humid. My 3 mile run went really well. It was warm, but the reduced humidity made it a great day for running.

    I grew up in dry heat (Washington state has a desert!) and didn’t experience real humidity until I moved to the Midwest in my early 30’s. I previously lived in Seattle, which, despite the rain, has very low humidity. Even after 13 years of Midwest summers, I still struggle.

    I discussed this with a running friend today, and we agreed that, in these conditions, you really have to adjust and lower your expectations. On the really bad days, just getting out and moving for a little while is enough. Adding that bonus round at the end of that workout just isn’t in the cards.

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