Summer is here and that means FUN in the SUN!!! For many, it means floating down the Hubba Hubba Highway at Water Country USA, relaxed and stress free. The month of July brings scorching temperatures and muggy humidity. However, don’t use the heat as an excuse to not exercise because effects of exercise are rapidly lost once training stops. Get outside and run, swim, bike, garden, play volleyball, and more. It’s fun to be outdoors, but take extra precautions when exercising in the heat. Be alert to the signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Exercising in the heat can actually improve your fitness level, but challenging your body in the heat should be left to professional athletes. Moderate exercising in heat can be done in a safe way as long as you stay listen to your body and keep the following in mind:
- HYDRATION: Drink before, during, and after exercise. Dehydration can cause light-headedness and nausea.
- DRESS APPROPRIATELY: Wear loose, light-colored clothes to reflect heat and help evaporate sweat.
- TIME OF DAY: Avoid 10am-3:00pm which is the hottest part of the day. Early morning is the optimal time.
- SHADE: Stay out of direct sunlight.
- REPLENISH SALT AND ELECTROLYTES: Hydrating with water is usually sufficient. Eating a normal diet should provide the body with adequate electrolytes. If you’re an athlete and/or exercising for more than an hour, consider an electrolyte replacement.
- SUNSCREEN: Slather it on! Sunburns decrease the body’s ability to cool itself.
Pay close attention to the signs/symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: headaches, chills, dizziness, rapid pulse, and high fever. If you’re experiencing these symptoms during exercise, you should stop immediately and get medical attention.
Exercising outside in the summer can be fun as long as precautions are taken. But, if the heat is not your friend, just sweat it out inside!