Join Date: Oct 2004
Bikes: All 70s and 80s, only steel.
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I have a lot of experience with dealing with heat and heat exhaustion, having lived in Sahelian West Africa for three years. I suffered from heat exhaustion twice, and your description sounds more like early dehydration.
First thing to realize: while genetics may be important, the human body is designed to be active in extreme heat. We are one of the few species of mammals that can do that, camels come to mind as another, and they're not particularly active.
Once you understand this, then you need to figure out how to maximize this inherent trait. Our cooling system--sweating--is unique, and very effective. In order to maximize the process, however, you need to be able to sweat well and efficiently. One way to do this is to sweat as much as possible. Be active in heat and keep yourself sweating. You don't have to go hard riding during the day, esp. if you get worn out, but don't go running into an a/c environment either: instead, keep drinking water and letting yourself sweat. Get used to feeling the heat and try and become comfortable sweaty. The other thing to make sure to do is to increase your salt intake. The more you sweat, the more salts you use up. Those need to be replaced, along with your fluids. Gatorade works for this. If you don't have gatorade, drink something with sugar, and add a teaspoon of salt to it. (Aside: key to great homemade lemonade made with fresh lemons is salt, nature's flavor enhancer). Also, increase your salt intake during your meals. Not a lot, but if you're exercising and sweating a lot in the heat, and you're craving salt, then eat more of it.
Final note: you'll know heat exhaustion when you feel clammy and you stop sweating. Should this occur, and you drink some water, you'll be amazed to begin sweating within seconds of drinking. Other symptoms of heat exhaustion are extreme headaches, dizziness and utter, poop-tired exhaustion. Should this happen to you, you must get yourself to a cooler environment, lie down, and probably sleep. You cannot rectify the situation by continuing to be active and just trying to 'catch up'. By the time you've got to the heat exhaustion stage, your body's entered into minor trauma. It's similar to altitude sickness: once you start having symptoms, you have to stop and let your body recover before pushing it further.
Good luck, and really enjoy the heat, it's a great lubricant for the joints!