Seen working in his lab, Brock University Kinesiology Professor Stephen Cheung studies how weather and extreme conditions impact the human body. SUPPLIED FILE PHOTO

 

Stephen Cheung urges caution this weekend

BY VOICE STAFF

Southern Ontario will see some of the hottest temperatures of the summer over the next 72 hours, leading to heat alerts being issued by Niagara Region Public Health and many municipalities.

Brock University Kinesiology Professor Stephen Cheung, one of Canada’s foremost experts on how extreme weather conditions impact the body, says caution needs to be taken by athletes and everyone else headed outdoors this weekend.

“The biggest problem right now is the humidex,” says Cheung, who lives in Fonthill.

“When the humidex is high, you can be sweating a lot, but it’s not really evaporating and helping you lose heat. It’s just dripping off you and making you uncomfortable.”

The inability to efficiently cool your body’s core temperature can be extremely dangerous, he says, especially for people working out and generating even more internal heat than people simply outside in the sun.

The professor’s recommendation is to keep workouts indoors during extreme heat. But if you must head outside, find shade if you can, drink plenty of cold water while exercising, and take frequent breaks.

The advice is also important for families headed to a park, backyard or local beach.

“Plan appropriately to not be out as long, reduce your level of exposure to the sun and the amount of activity you do,” Cheung says, adding that drinking lots of cold water is key even if you’re just lounging around.

He also encourages everyone to wear sunscreen.

“If you’re getting sunburned, your skin and sweat glands aren’t able to work as well,” he says. “Reapply sunscreen more regularly because you’re sweating more and it tends to wash it off more quickly.”