What does extreme heat do to your body? 

Both hot and cold extremes have advantages and dangers, so it’s important to understand the signs of when exposure to extraordinary temperatures is taking its toll, and of course how and when to use heat as a therapy. 

 

Firstly, the effects of heat on the body and the dangers. As temperatures start to rise we start sweating and go clammy. This extra use of fluids can quickly lead to dehydration. As exposure time or the temperature itself continues to increase the the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature starts to fail and the onset of heat stroke begins. Heat stroke is when the hypothalamus region of the brain ceases to function and all involuntary reflexes and processes of temperature regulation (like sweating and vein dilation) stop. The brain will start to swell and confusion, dizziness and hallucinations are likely. Blood pressure will drop and the heart will start beating irregularly. It’s common for blood clots to occur (preventing blood flow and blocking the oxygen supply to our organs and muscles), and the risk of cardiac arrest is high. At this stage multiple organ failure is impending.  

 

On the less extreme end of the spectrum, allergens are prevalent in warmer environments not to mention the quicker multiplication and spread of illness causing bacteria. An amusing conclusion of one study that analyzed the effects of higher temperatures on cognitive function was that heat may also make us dumb. This has yet to be confirmed! 

 

Horror story over, exposure to heat in the right way can be highly beneficial. Heat therapy (or thermotherapy) comes in many forms. From hot cloths, hot water bottles and heating pads to ultrasound, whirlpool baths, steam rooms and saunas. Heat therapy is often used for pain relief and rehabilitation. The application of heat to many areas of the body helps dilate the arteries and capillary blood vessels in the vicinity, allowing blood to flow more freely providing oxygen and repairing nutrients to the cells in the area. Similarly the warmth helps muscular tissue become more pliable – this alone can ease tension in short or fibrotic areas, which in turn can ease joint pain.  

 

Additionally, new research into Saunas may help expose the Finnish secret to the rest of us. From reduced joint pain and muscle soreness to improved cardio vascular function, scientists observed that those that indulged in a Sauna session at least once per week were likely to have improved health. Other studies have also noted the positive effects on phycological health, Alzheimer’s, and even respiratory issues.  

 

Two common questions that are often asked are “Is a warmer climate better for your health?” or “Do people in warm climates get sick less?”. The short answer to both of these questions is No, but that doesn’t mean living in a warmer climate doesn’t have it’s advantages. One of the plusses of living in a warmer climate is similar to benefits felt from some heat therapies. For those with chronic joint issues or incessant pains, they often enjoy a decrease or subsidence of discomfort when the temperature is higher. The answer to the second question will become clear as you read on below about exposure to colder temperatures.

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MY CRANE ANALOGY - AND WHY STRUCTURALISM WORKS

As the first of many blog posts to come I decided that I would tell my story of the building site crane. It's an overly simplified analogy comparing an immensely strong machine that we see active on construction sites all over the developing world to our muscular-skeletal system of the human body. I bring this story into conversation early on with new clients when helping them into understanding the process of building real applicable strength and stability into their bodies, and why a precise, controlled and patient work(out) ethic necessary in order to achieve this.Mechanics is everywhere. It is so common to the point that the majority of us don't even pay attention to mechanics at work. The obvious examples that spring to mind might be the cars we drive, or appliances in our houses such as washing machines or heating units. But how often do we appreciate the reason why our buildings don't fall down or how the brackets holding our TV to the wall are so strong. When was the last time you considered how electricity cables don't pull down pylons or how bridges span distant expanses without collapsing? This is before we even look into the natural environment (where incidentally many man made structures have been designed based on support systems inspired by nature).

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How to beat 'SADS' and have the most productive winter ever​

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a lot more common than people think. In fact, in the UK alone it’s been reported that 29% of the population have symptoms of SAD with women being four times more likely than men to experience symptoms. Even in Tel Aviv, with its relatively warm winters, the seasonal changes can still have an effect. So what is SAD? How can you tell if you might be affected by SAD? And what’s the best way to beat SAD? Here are some of the most effective ways you can tackle SAD and have the best winter yet. What is Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD)? SAD is a reoccurring major depression that follows a seasonal pattern. It generally affects people in the late fall to winter with symptoms dissipating in the spring and summer. While the cause of SAD isn’t completely known, there is strong evidence suggesting it has to do with the limited or change in availability of sunlight during fall and winter months which can then change or alter a person’s internal biological clock as well as alter hormones.

ice bath frozen hot body man athlete

The surprising health benefits of exposure to extreme temperatures​

It may be that you like to indulge in the post workout steam room cycled with a jump into a cold swimming pool. Perhaps you’ve been injured and your therapist has suggested ice baths or heat pads. You may have even been training for an event and wondered about how training at extreme temperatures may improve your athletic performance when it comes to race day. Beyond this, whether you live in a hot or cold climate (or indeed somewhere that experiences both), we all remember the times when our Mother’s would tell us to put on another sweater if you’re cold, “or there’s nothing wrong with suffering a bit – It’s good for you!”. There may actually be a point to all this. Here’s what science has to say about the human body and it’s tolerance and reactions to different temperature environments. What air temperature is safe or (dangerous) for humans?The human body maintains a constant temperature of 37C, and this can fluctuate throughout the day within the range of +/- 1C. Internal and external factors contribute to any fluctuations, for example physical activity, emotional state, presence of an illness or of course the environmental temperature. Under normal conditions our bodies maintain our internal temperature by the use of subconscious response mechanisms, the most obvious of which are sweating and shivering.  As for the external temperature range that humans can tolerate – we don’t have a straight answer. You may have seen on the weather forecast that they often refer to expected ‘real feel’ conditions. This is because the temperature that we feel (and can tolerate) also depends on additional parameters such as humidity and wind. Our ideal temperature while naked, is around 28C with a relative humidity of 40-50%.  It has been reported that in extremely dry conditions (0% relative humidity), and with an adequate supply of cold water, that we can tolerate air temperatures of up to 120C for short periods (exact times are unknown, but we’re talking in the 10’s of minutes and not hours). In comparison, with a relative humidity of 80-100% (which can be common in tropical climes), we would struggle to tolerate long exposure of temperatures above 55C.  The same applies to exposure to cold conditions. Below 28C we would likely feel the need to wear light clothes. Much below 20C slightly thicker clothing would be required and below 12C we’re already in the range that without winter attire we would be at risk of hyperthermia. In addition to the effects of humidity, (which apply to both hot and cold temperatures), we also need to take into account further complications such as frost bite. Our range of tolerance to cold is much smaller than that with exposure to heat. Again, exact data is hard to find, but there have been instances of temperatures of -20C being tolerated whilst physically active, but for most, the lower limit of exposure to cold whilst naked would be around 13C.​

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6 WAYS THAT YOU SHOULD LIVE LIKE A CAVEMAN IN 2019

Our urban lifestyles and technical environment may seem so distant from the caveman era of our ancestors, but what if they had it right? Whilst tribes may not have had the education systems that we have today, nature and evolution played its part in building life saving habits and instinctually healthy behaviour. Here’s our top tips for living cave-style within our modern world.​

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Keeping healthy and in shape doesn't (and shouldn't) have to be about killing yourself mentally or physically. Here is some genuine sound advice right from the heart of Isractive - our top ten for living a healthy life and moving well... 1. Don’t get stuck!Allocate 10 minutes each day to run through a basic routine of full body mobility movements/stretches. Ensure that through the years you don’t lose your range of motion in each joints and you’ll enjoy joint health and longevity of movement. Related:  This One Activity Should Be Your Biggest Daily Habit  2. Walk!Who said exercise has to be intense all the time? Spend as much time on your feet each day as you do sitting. Walk around the office, walk your commute, and even a bit of housework is enough to balance out your sedentary time. 3. Want a smoking hot body?No problem, but let it be as a healthy bi-product of an efficient and strong body. Fix all the deficiencies in your movements habits, eat raw and green, and you’ll be performing at your best for pushing your limits in training. The lean machine look will pop out sooner than you’re expecting!

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extreme heat hot temperature thermometer sun
frozen extremities ice block feet cold man

What does extreme cold do to your body?

So you escaped the dangers from the heat, but don’t be so quick to flee to the other extreme. Surprisingly the temperature range in which our bodies are able to tolerate the heat can be significantly greater than the temperature at which we start to feel the effects of the cold.

 

As temperatures start to drop the first thing you’ll notice is that you’ll see goose pimples (or bumps) on your skin and soon after you’ll start to shiver. Goose bumps are an involuntary protection reflex. In the case of cold the goose bumps help raise the hairs on your exposed skin to allow it to dry more quickly with the intention of slowing the conduction of heat away from your body. Similarly shivering is the body’s attempt at generating heat. As temperatures continue to drop the body draws in the main blood circulation from the extremities towards the core organs. This along with the cold itself leads to chilblains and then the onset of frostbite (even above freezing temperatures). At this stage cold induced asthma is not uncommon.

 

Continued exposure to low temperatures or continuing reduction in temperature will quickly lead to hypothermia. Similarly to heat stroke, hypothermia is accompanied by confusion, slurred speech, exhaustion and lack of cognitive control. Much beyond this your body starts to physically freeze, often with your corneas surrendering first, but quickly followed by your extremities (fingers, toes, ears, nose) and not long after your main organs too. This will result in organ failure and the body shutting down.

 

Thankfully all is not doomed and there can be some significant benefits to exposure to cold. 

 

Cold therapies (or cryotherapy) can be excellent at staving off inflammation. Some research has also suggested that regular exposure to lower temperatures can increase the responsiveness and capability of the immune system. Other studies have also suggested that allergy sufferers notice significant improvements to their condition in the cold. 

 

In contrast to fatigue from higher temperature environments, there is vast anecdotal evidence to suggest that moderately lower temperatures actually improve concentration and boost your brain power.

 

Naturally, in colder environments we may assume that we are more susceptible to viruses and the common cold, but in real terms the prevalence of these bugs is actually decreased. The multiplication of bacteria is significantly reduced below 5C helping to lower the risk of disease. Some cultures even actively seek out the cold in an effort to boost their health

 

One extra benefit of cold exposure comes when exercising. Our hearts have to beat a little faster to provide warm blood to the extremities via contracted blood vessels. The effect of this is shown in an improvement of overall heart strength and function.

 

Finally, sleep science recommends reduced temperatures whilst sleeping. This helps aid our natural circadian rhythm and enables us to fall into a deeper higher quality sleep sooner.​

Does fitness training in heat improve performance?

Working out in hot environments (outside of the norm of a comfortable temperature for a relaxed and naked human being) can bring it’s own set of benefits. For decades professional athletes have used altitude training as a way of improving their respiratory efficiency (due to the lower oxygen levels and lower air density). Training in the heat can also contribute to improved overall performance. In fact, one study even suggests that training in hot conditions can improve VO2Max Efficiency more effectively than training in high places. In a similar vein, other research concluded that mild dehydration whilst training actually resulted in higher blood plasma levels. The relevance of all of this is that when we condition our bodies to perform at a high level even whilst outside of our ‘ideal’ environment, then when returning to ideal conditions we will display an even higher level of physical efficiency and fitness.

 

Its important to remember that whilst training in hot environments can have its advantages, it is a dangerous tool that must be used carefully and in a well planned and controlled manner.​

warm climate hammock trees relaxing

Is it better to live in cold or warm? 

This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string?’ type questions that doesn’t have a definitive correct or ideal answer. There are many variables that would contribute to a decision as to whether to seek out a hotter or cooler climate. It may be better to explore the following issues when considering if you’re currently in the right place for you.

 

Does cold weather reduce inflammation?  

Unlike cold therapies, general exposure to cold weather doesn’t necessarily decrease inflammation in the body. One study even suggested that inflammatory markers are significantly increased with long exposure to cold resulting in higher levels of cardio vascular complications and early death.

 

Do people in warm climates get sick less?  

It is a popular misconception that people that live in more tropical climates get sick less often. Firstly, it is important to define ‘sick’ or ‘less sick’. For example people with musculoskeletal complications or aches and pains often enjoy the relief of living in warmer climates. Whilst colder climates help stint the multiplication of bacteria, our immune systems are often already challenged in the cold (as mentioned above with regard to inflammatory markers in the blood). As a result there is no conclusive evidence that one temperature environment or the other is best for human inhabitation.  

 

What is ideal room temperature?  

Whilst most world health providers recommend 18-24C as the ideal indoor temperature (depending on the age and health of the occupants and the intended activity within the room). Naturally, if you intend to be fully clothed, you may find that 18C is comfortable. Those that prefer to be without insulative layers are likely to desire a warmer ambient temperature.

  

Other potential considerations for overall health & performance  

Athletic endeavors or goals, psychological frame of mind, tolerance to warmth or cool, hobbies and leisure activities and current level of health may all contribute to the decision as to what climate is considered ideal.​

health relax sauna steam room therapy

How can I tolerate heat (or cold) better?

Quite simply exposure is the key to building a tolerance to varying temperatures. If you suffer from the cold, then exposure to a moderately cooler environment on a regular basis for increasing periods of time, whilst gradually reducing the temperature further, will help you acclimatize and get used to the different conditions.

 

The same concept applies if you find warmer environments challenging. If you are an aspiring athlete then you should consult a fitness professional in order to plan your training in the heat in a safe and attainable way.

 

Is it bad to go in the steam room everyday? Absolutely not, but the research has suggested that even just once a week in the Sauna or Steam Room can be enough to enrich your life.

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The surprising health benefits of exposure to extreme temperatures​

ice bath frozen hot body man athlete

This is a mockup. Publish to view how it will appear live.

It may be that you like to indulge in the post workout steam room cycled with a jump into a cold swimming pool. Perhaps you’ve been injured and your therapist has suggested ice baths or heat pads. You may have even been training for an event and wondered about how training at extreme temperatures may improve your athletic performance when it comes to race day. Beyond this, whether you live in a hot or cold climate (or indeed somewhere that experiences both), we all remember the times when our Mother’s would tell us to put on another sweater if you’re cold, “or there’s nothing wrong with suffering a bit – It’s good for you!”. There may actually be a point to all this. Here’s what science has to say about the human body and it’s tolerance and reactions to different temperature environments.

 

What air temperature is safe or (dangerous) for humans?

The human body maintains a constant temperature of 37C, and this can fluctuate throughout the day within the range of +/- 1C. Internal and external factors contribute to any fluctuations, for example physical activity, emotional state, presence of an illness or of course the environmental temperature. Under normal conditions our bodies maintain our internal temperature by the use of subconscious response mechanisms, the most obvious of which are sweating and shivering. 

 

As for the external temperature range that humans can tolerate – we don’t have a straight answer. You may have seen on the weather forecast that they often refer to expected ‘real feel’ conditions. This is because the temperature that we feel (and can tolerate) also depends on additional parameters such as humidity and wind. Our ideal temperature while naked, is around 28C with a relative humidity of 40-50%. 

 

It has been reported that in extremely dry conditions (0% relative humidity), and with an adequate supply of cold water, that we can tolerate air temperatures of up to 120C for short periods (exact times are unknown, but we’re talking in the 10’s of minutes and not hours). In comparison, with a relative humidity of 80-100% (which can be common in tropical climes), we would struggle to tolerate long exposure of temperatures above 55C. 

 

The same applies to exposure to cold conditions. Below 28C we would likely feel the need to wear light clothes. Much below 20C slightly thicker clothing would be required and below 12C we’re already in the range that without winter attire we would be at risk of hyperthermia. In addition to the effects of humidity, (which apply to both hot and cold temperatures), we also need to take into account further complications such as frost bite. Our range of tolerance to cold is much smaller than that with exposure to heat. Again, exact data is hard to find, but there have been instances of temperatures of -20C being tolerated whilst physically active, but for most, the lower limit of exposure to cold whilst naked would be around 13C.​

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TRAINING LOCATIONS

Isractive is based in the 'Old North" of Tel Aviv. Private training sessions usually take place at Kolnoa Peer Fitness Club, occasionally in private workout facilities, and when appropriate out in the field (park). Remote, "virtual" or video sessions are also available.

For accurate group session and run club locations refer to the published timetable and booking app. 

Phone:  +972 (0) 54 295 1511

eMail:     info@isractive.net