Too much heat can be harmful to your health. It can lead to weakness, disorientation, exhaustion, and in severe cases, it can lead to heat stroke. To learn more about heat-related illnesses, see HealthLinkBC File #35 Heat-related Illness.
Acclimation helps you remain active in a hot environment with less risk of a heat-related illness. You can acclimate yourself to a hot environment by gradually increasing the amount of time you exercise in the heat each day. Do this over 8 to 14 days. Adults usually need daily exercise periods that last 1 to 2 hours to become acclimated. Children need 10 to 14 days to acclimate.
You can also start acclimating while in cooler environments by wearing more clothing when exercising. This will raise the body temperature, which helps the body start sweating.
Acclimation helps you sweat for a longer time at a lower body temperature. Although this increases the amount you sweat, it decreases the amount of salt you lose in sweat or urine.
Lipman GS, et al. (2013). Wilderness Medical Society practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of heat-related illness. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 24(4): 351-361.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD, MMEd, FRCPC - Emergency Medicine