Exertional Heat Stress

What’s the big difference between winter and summer Olympic games, besides the weather I mean? Sports like running, rowing and biking, are more intensely endurance, while winter sports like ski jumping, snow-boarding and sledding are more technical. In the summer when the sun is high, Olympic athletes are at a higher risk of heat stroke, both because of the weather and because of the nature of their sport. Due to the necessary aerobic intensity of summer Olympic games, lowering the risk of heat stroke is particularly challenging. How can we help athletes ignite their spark plug without overheating their engines?

Left untreated, heat stroke may progress to coma. Death may result due to kidney failure, malfunction of the lungs, acute heart failure, or direct heat induced damage to the brain. This is a concern to athletes because heat stroke risk rises as body pH drops during exercise. Acidification of metabolic pH can lead to acidosis. Cellular response to stress is altered contributing to overtraining syndrome. Toxicity increases when the hypothalamus cannot regulate core temperature ultimately affecting the role of the pineal gland [the tiny cone shaped gland that has recently been found to be an important link between the nervous and endocrine systems.] This gland is linked to the CNS via the sympathetic nervous system. And is at particular risk when circulation shuts down in the deep tissues as it shifts to large long muscle.

Studies which have provided an in vitro model for the study of mechanism of injury in exertional heat stress when the body is unable to dissipate heat leading to heat stroke conclude: “Heat stroke mortality is worsened in the presence of acidosis. Using cell culture as an in vitro model of exertional heat stress, we have shown that physiologic acidosis (pH 6.8) significantly increases cell death from hyperthermia. We have further demonstrated that acidosis augments the heat response of the human HSP70 3′ untranslated region…”  Metabolic acidosis has been shown to inhibit the heat control mechanism in the hypothalamus, and is a potential causative factor in heat stroke. And drug-based corrective measures can’t restore intracellular and extracellular electrolyte balance.

Electrolytes are electrically charged ions that our cells need in order to carry electrical impulses to other cells that maintain muscle and nerve control. Since physical exertion generally causes a drop in body pH anyway, in the summer heat, the ‘imbalance’ of electrolytes can be as potentially damaging as the ‘loss’ of electrolytes since circulation shuts down in deep organs under stress. Hydration will restore the supply of electrolytes, however by itself cannot ensure the proper distribution of electrolytes required for optimal cellular function, unless we can open up circulation in the deep organs, including the pineal gland. Subsequently pH fitness is an even greater consideration as environmental temperatures rise when building protection against heat stroke into your training schedule.

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For extended article on acidosis, heat stroke, and hyperthermia click here.

Body’Fit pH Fitness™ exercise (short form… pHx™) is a routine that presents a solution for body temperature control during exercise, it warms up the body without over-heating it. Designed to spike metabolism in deep organs while equilibrating VO2max in all muscles, both large and small, this unique exercise sequence disperses heat by opening up blood vessels in tissues which normally shut down even under moderate exertion, giving an alkalizing rather an acidifying result. Combined with restoration of acid base equilibrium (within 7 to 14 minutes), the dynamic 24-exercise series helps reset temperature regulating mechanisms, very fast. In the hot weather pHx adds that definitive spark to ignite passion, while lowering the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It’s so short sweet and complete the short 7-min version can be done as a mindset revitalizer during competition. Are you staying ahead of the curve?

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Currently Body’Fit pH Fitness™ (short form… pHx™) isn’t available to the general public, please contact Meta Living Design for details.