Question: Is it too humid to run? How can I do it safely?
Deena Bradford, RN:
Since we live in Oklahoma we are not strangers to humidity! However, combining humidity and running can make things dangerous!
Let’s talk facts. When you run you body temperature rises, so you sweat. The sweat evaporates and you are cooled. Humidity keeps the sweat from evaporating and therefore you lose the body’s natural cooling mechanism. As your body heats up, you get more and more dehydrated. This makes it go into survival mode keeping the blood flow to you essential organs. There will be less blood flow to your GI tract, which will make your nauseated when you drink sports drinks or chew gels. When you are overheated, your breathing will become shallow and your heart and lungs will be working overtime to get oxygen where it needs to go. If you continue, your brain temperature will rise and you may feel dizzy and confused.
It’s not just the new runners that humidity adversely affects. The seasoned athletes are at risk, also! Everyone handles the heat and humidity differently. Not only do you need to check the temperature outside, but also check the heat index. The heat index will tell you how it actually feels outside. Humidity really doesn’t become a factor until it reaches 40%. We Okies welcome a 40% humidity! Be mindful and listen to your body!
Deena Bradford, LPN
6307 Waterford Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73118