It is vitally important to take precautions while exercising in the summer months. The average person can take up to two weeks to adapt to the warmer and more humid temperatures. Here are some helpful safety tips to follow while exercising during the summer:
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: While exercising in hot weather you can easily lose up to a quart of water an hour. Drink water before, during and after exercising. Your body can only absorb about 8 oz. of water every 20 minutes, so continue to drink fluids even after you no longer feel thirsty. Adding sports drinks or salt/potassium capsules is beneficial as well to assure that you do not wash out all of your electrolytes during your workout. Keeping a balance of water and electrolytes is very important anytime you exercise but even more crucial during the brutally hot months we face in summer.
Avoid exercise outside during the peak heat of the day: Very hot and humid weather disturbs your body’s natural cooling system (perspiration) and its ability to cool your body. Try exercising in the early morning or evening to avoid the most intense heat (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) or consider exercising indoors.
Try new workouts: Walking is considered the most popular exercise among Americans. It is a great low impact, weight bearing exercise that needs very little equipment – just a good pair of shoes (running shoes make the best walking shoes); check out rollerblading (indoors at a rink or outdoors in a park); try mountain biking or find the nearest hiking trail (most trails are somewhat shady); or you can go swimming or canoeing – these activities will allow you access to cool water.
Don’t forget your sunscreen. Apply at least a SPF 15 sunscreen 30 minutes before exercising outdoors. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block the sun’s UV rays. Exposure to direct and indirect sunlight over many years increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
Watch out for the symptoms of heat stroke. When the body doesn’t cool itself of excess heat, there can be a sudden rise in body temperature. Look for very hot and dry skin, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. Remember, these symptoms can appear rapidly. If these conditions exist seek medical attention immediately; heatstroke can be fatal.
Choose the appropriate clothing. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to allow circulation of air and reflect sunlight. Synthetic fabrics that have a mesh-like weave will allow moisture to be whisked away from your skin and help keep you cool and dry.
Have a safe, healthy and fit summer!
Certified Fitness Trainer & Fitness Nutritionist