Summer is here and the heat is red hot. I have a workout scheduled for tonight, but I am on the fence. Part of me doesn't want to skip the workout but the other part says, "Take a break and just relax by the pool with the kids.”
Regardless of what I decide, if you or anyone you know is exercising outdoors this summer, here are some great tips I gathered from all over to help avoid the risk of heat-related illness and keep you cool:
- Pick the right time. Exercise in the morning or evening when temperatures are usually cooler. If it is too hot, come into the gym and cool off – maybe take a dip in one of our pools. If the dew point is ever over 70, come inside. It’s too humid for an outdoor workout. Play it safe. Remember, exercise is a journey.
- Wear the right clothing. Loose, breathable clothing will help keep the body cool. You want materials that wick the moisture away from your body; avoid cotton outfits that soak up sweat. When your outfits get too water-logged with sweat your body starts to heat back up. Change shirts often when exercising outside.
- Take time to properly warm up and cool down. Even though it's hot outside it doesn’t mean you can just go, go, go. When you begin, start slow and build up. Allow your body to adjust and get in the groove. At the end avoid the extreme temperature change, such as going right from the heat into a cold car or club. Get your body back to baseline.
- Please drink plenty of water. Staying properly hydrated before, during and after your workout is critical to avoid injury and heat-related illness. In some cases you may need a replacement beverage that helps replenish lost electrolytes. Check your urine color – if it’s dark yellow drink up, you need clear or light yellow. General tip is if your workout is under 60 minutes drink water. If it’s over 60 minutes you may want a replacement drink.
- Cover up. It’s easy to get burned; with the combination of sun and sweat make sure you lather up with a good sun screen prior to exercise. You don’t want to deal with both a heat-related illness and a sunburn. Remember summer is the time for fun. Be safe and enjoy yourself.
One last thing – know the signs
Dizziness? Nausea? Stop and chill!
Heat exhaustion is a cardiovascular and low-blood-pressure problem, and we’re generally upright, so more blood pools in the feet and legs. Being on your back in the shade; elevating your feet will help you return to normal. Just beware of the degrees in heat illnesses, and be on the lookout for more serious heat-related illnesses. After heat exhaustion comes heat injury (symptoms include unsteady walk and chills), followed by heat stroke, in which body temperature rises above 104 degrees, and you can become disoriented. In that case, it’s best to call 911.
Remember summer workouts are about fun and staying fit, not pushing yourself to exhaustion. Take it slow and have fun. Invite a friend or group and do some new exciting exercises. Enjoy your summer and the great weather. Just be smart about it so you can enjoy it all summer long.