This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
It’s hot out there. Here in Wisconsin, it’s been unseasonably hot for a while now and it’s not letting up yet. To the east, the heat has been settling in and, if what we’ve experienced in Wisconsin is any indication, I’m sorry to report that you might have a while to go.
So what do we do in the heat? Well, the usual things apply. Slow down, drink plenty of fluids, try to run during the early morning or late evening hours. What else should we keep in mind?
Well, for one thing, know what your medications might do to you. This is good advice any time. You should always be aware of the side effects any medication you’re taking, prescription or non-prescription, may have. As the heat bears down on us, remember that certain medications can cause heat sensitivity or exacerbate dehydration.
What’s another thing? Well, a piece of good news. I’m sure we’ve all heard about how dehydration affects our cognitive function. It turns out there may be more to that story than previously reported.
As usual, Alex Hutchinson does a great job explaining where the research is right now. Previous studies on dehydration and cognitive function were not all that well designed and performed. A new study, more well performed, suggested that cognitive function actually improved after dehydrating exercise but returned to normal during recovery and rehydration.
Does this mean that dehydration improves cognitive function? Absolutely not. In fact, some research shows that exercise improves cognitive function. If I were to hazard a guess, that’s where the post-exercise gains came from. However, more important, the results of this study call into question the results of the previous studies and at least suggest that, if there is decline, it may not be as significant as some have wanted us to believe.