Exercise Safely in Summer

Exercise Safely in Summer

Hot, humid conditions test the limits of the most dedicated athletes. So, it’s no surprise that summer weather can be a challenge for those of us with even modest exercise goals. Here’s how to stay on track while avoiding heat-related problems.

Make a (flexible) plan

Look at the local forecast. Use safety alerts and the heat index to guide what you will do and when. When the heat index reaches 80 degrees, use extra caution deciding what to do, where, and for how long. Keep in mind that mornings and evenings are the coolest parts of the day. Noon to 3 p.m. is the hottest.

Choose activities wisely

Target cooler times for a run, power walk, or basketball game. For warmer days, make less taxing plans such as strolling a farmer’s market or riding your bike on a shaded path. Whateveryou decide, allow your body time to get used to the weather. Start slowly, then build up your pace. If your heart is pounding, you can’t catch your breath, or you feel lightheaded, stop right away. Move to a cooler area and rest.

Stay hydrated

Drink lots of water throughout the day, regardless of your activity level. Drink continuously, not just when you feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol or drinks high in sugar and very cold beverages.

Wear the right gear

How you dress can help you enjoy a workout and keep you cool. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing made of moisture-wicking fabric. Apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher 30 minutes before going outside and continue to reapply according to package directions.

Put Heat-Related Ills on Ice

Heat cramps: Muscle spasms or pain in the abdomen, arms, or legs after strenuous exercise.To treat this condition:

  • Stop exercising and sit in a cool place
  • Drink water or a sports beverage
  • Seek medical attention if the cramps last longer than an hour

Heat exhaustion: Caused by inadequate fluid intake or strenuous physical activity in the heat. Warning signs include pale, cool, moist skin; weakness; nausea; and dizziness.

To treat this condition:

  • Sip water
  • Rest in a cool environment
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms last longer than an hour

Heatstroke: Occurs when the body can’t control its temperature. Untreated, it can be life-threatening. Warning signs include a body temperature above 103 degrees; hot, dry skin; rapid pulse;  dizziness; confusion; and unconsciousness.

To treat this condition:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Cool the person rapidly by putting him or her in cool water, a cool shower, or by any other means available

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