I did a dumb thing earlier this week, and wanted to share it with you so you can avoid this potentially life threatening error.
I have a regular gym routine at a great local gym with a sauna. It’s close, affordable, very clean, and has all the equipment and space I could ask for. I love it. I go late at night when its mostly empty, and typically warm up for about 20 minutes in the gym’s sauna, get some water, and then hit the weights.
This time, I unconsciously deviated from my routine. I stayed in the sauna for 45 minutes. Why? I simply lost track of time. I was focused elsewhere – business, money, life, whatever. I then failed to drink water after, instead going directly to the weights. The workout was uneventful, though I was more fatigued than usual. When I got home, I failed properly re-hydrate, instead going to work at my computer.
About 2 hours later, I was working at my computer when I felt the sensation of my head feeling very “heavy”. I knew something was wrong. I stood up (big mistake), and immediately passed out and hit my head hard on the edge of the desk. I lost consciousness for a few seconds but fortunately not very long. My wife heard me fall so she was there pretty quickly and helped me recover.
Fortunately I didn’t sustain any serious damage and my head is starting to feel better a few days on.
Some lessons here:
1) Saunas are great and have fantastic health benefits, but you really need to watch your time, and ensure you are hydrating properly both before and after.
2) If you feel like you are about to pass out, don’t stand up. You will fall much farther and do much more damage to yourself. I got lucky – if my head had fallen in a slightly different way, I could have hit my neck, be paralyzed or worse.
3) The whole thing was the result of a lack of focus. I wasn’t paying attention to time in the sauna, or my hydration, and my mind was focused elsewhere. In whatever activity you’re engaging, make sure your mind is 100% in the game.
I hope you enjoyed this cautionary tale, and do be sure to share it with anyone in your life that saunas or works out regularly. Maybe it can help save someone else from my near Darwin-award win.