Most of us think of “sweating off” weight in hot climates, or in hot yoga class. But sometimes being in unaccustomed high temperatures can have the opposite effect.
Over the years of Yoga Holiday With Paul there have been students who noticed they got swollen feet and legs in the heat. To figure out why — and what to do about it — I turned to trusty Google.
The first key thing to know (via Scientific American) is that
Significant changes in body weight due to climate usually take the form of weight gained rather than weight lost, especially once the body has become acclimated to high levels of activity in the heat….
In the summer, body weight can go up by several pounds due to increased body water. This is accomplished through fluid-conserving hormones such as aldosterone, which allows the kidney to retain more fluid and reduces the amount of salt in sweat, a measure that also aids in water retention. The increase and stabilization of total body water can only be accomplished by continuing to exercise in hot weather and will not occur in people who spend most of their time indoors in air-conditioned environments.
This explains why you can sweat and exercise in the heat, but still retain water weight.
How do you combat heat bloat?
- Drink plenty of water. If your body senses a risk of dehydration it will work even harder to retain water.
- Eat foods with high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, carrots, fruit and leafy greens.
- Sodium encourages your body to retain water, so cut back on extra salt and processed food. Potassium, which you’ll find in bananas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, helps your body excrete sodium to bring your system into balance.
- Practice inversions such as headstand, or rest with your feet up against the wall to drain excess fluid from your feet and legs.
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