fitness

Air conditioning and exercise: Sweaty Sam has some thoughts

There’s a back to school heat alert in my neck of the woods. Environment Canada says, “Humidex values reaching 40 are expected. Hot and humid conditions will continue today. A hot and humid airmass is expected to remain in place today. Maximum afternoon temperatures are expected to be near 30 degrees with humidex values near 40. ” They go to to list the usual tips: drink lots of water, stay indoors during periods of peak heat. Also, they say the risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.

It’s the exercising outdoors part that gets me. And I do that even during heat alerts. First though, some years ago, I had to get over a dislike of sweating. See my blog post on that theme, Gonna Make You Sweat.

I actually think that for many women dislike of sweating is a significant barrier to exercise.

This year we also moved houses and it’s my first time in a very long while living in a place with air conditioning. That was terrific during the move but now I have mixed feelings about it. And I know. I don’t have to use it. But use it we do. I don’t live alone, so there’s that.

On the plus side, when there’s ac waiting at home I find I worry less about getting really hot and sweaty because I know I can count on cooling off later. So I can sprint that last Strava segment on my bike without worrying about being too warm for the rest of the evening. Also on the plus side, I sleep better. That’s a definite benefit.

I can also cook without fear of creating extra heat. I like that too.

All good right? But not so fast. There’s a thing I don’t like. If I’m in the cool indoors I find it harder to go out. Sometimes I don’t want to go on a dog walk or take my bike out for a spin because it’s nice and dry cool in here and hot and humid out there. This summer has felt worse to me heat wise. Between work ac and home ac, I have’t really adjusted. When my house and sticky too I used to think, at least there’ll be a breeze out on my bike.

I also worry about controlled environments and their affect on our resilience. I have friends who say they’re not outdoors people. What does that even mean? Well, they say it’s always the wrong temperature, either too hot or too cold. They love 20 degrees Celsius but can’t stand much warmer or cooler. They like it best inside. But if we push ourselves we can adjust to the cold and to the heat. We don’t need to be that fragile. It’s good for us to train for resiliency.

I’m not giving up my home ac but I am going to try to keep it pretty moderate.

Given the weather, I AM glad I have it. See It’s not your imagination, humidity really is killing you.

And I’m also especially grateful I’m not in one of the countries where the heat is now deadly.

What are your thoughts about exercise and air conditioning? Love it or hate it?

Image description: Bright yellow sun

2 thoughts on “Air conditioning and exercise: Sweaty Sam has some thoughts

  1. Oy. I’m on board with trying to acclimate and I don’t mind sweating, but I’m ready to be done with the heat + humidity. Here in Florida, my early morning runs are often 75 F, with 95-100% humidity. Sweat’s no fun when it’s literally rolling off your body. And AC is pretty much a given here. It’s hard to survive without it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We try to keep our ac use moderate here, too, even though we’re also in a hot and humid climate (US Mid-Atlantic). We have the ac set between 79 and 82F during the day, and put it up to 85 at night, when we open windows and use fans instead. I find it uncomfortable and jarring to go into stores or other public environments where the ac is set much lower. It’s like having to go into a meat locker.

    But I do sometimes need to turn the ac down lower than 79 if I’m working out at home. For various reasons I get overheated easily and sometimes have a hard time cooling down. I don’t mind getting sweaty, but heat stress is a thing that I prefer to avoid.

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