Help Your Community Stay Fit—and Safe—During Summer Exercise.
Posted On: 7/31/2013 | By: Terri McKinney
It’s the season where people are spending a lot more time outdoors. Joggers flock to the closest trails, and people elect bikes over cars for the commute to work. Kids play endless games of baseball.
- Give yourself time: As summer temperatures rise, it’s important for people to give their body time to adjust to the extra heat. It can take up to two weeks for one’s body to acclimate to warmer, more humid temperatures. During this time of year, people should consider gradually easing into more rigorous workouts.
- Stay hydrated: Any time you exercise, it’s important to keep water close by. However, when temperatures rise, your body can lose up to a quart of water an hour—and it can only absorb about eight ounces every 20 minutes. Advise patients, friends, and family to never leave home without fluids, and encourage them to take plenty of water breaks.
- Dress for the heat: One helpful rule of thumb is to dress as though it’s 10 degrees warmer than it actually is. By wearing lighter, looser-fitting clothing, your body can cool off faster. It’s also wise to select light-colored clothing so your body can reflect, rather than absorb, sunlight.
- Adjust your workout: Save strenuous exercise for the gym or colder weather, and advise patients to do the same. Summer is better suited for vigorous walks, swimming, or group activities. If you choose to participate in rigorous exercise in heat, bring plenty of water and plan for adequate breaks to cool down.
- Plan around the sun: If possible, people should exercise early in the morning or later at night during the summer, rather than during peak temperature hours. Exercising during the hottest part of the day can lead to harmful sunburn, heat stroke, and other injuries. And, anytime you’re going to be out in the sun, it’s necessary to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to any activity and to wear protective eye-wear.
Beat the heat with creative fitness alternatives.
The heat of the summer is the ideal time to try out something new. People who want to stay active during the summer should consider taking classes like water aerobics or tai chi, or head inside to explore the benefits of racquetball, spinning, or weight training. Working out indoors can help eliminate the risk of heat-related injuries.
Know the potential risks of too much heat.
If you or your patients suffer from certain illnesses or are using prescription medications, make sure it’s safe to step outdoors. Diabetic individuals should check their blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise. People should seek medical attention if they begin to experience any of the following:
- Heavy sweating
- Chills or clammy skin
- Dizziness or fainting
Maintaining a regular fitness routine during summer months can be a fun, healthy experience. However, it is important to understand just how dangerous the added heat and humidity can be.
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