After being cooped up indoors all winter, exercising outside is one of the great joys of summer. However, when the weather gets hot, heat related illness such as muscles cramps, nausea and dizziness can take a toll. Still, by following few tips you will be able to exercise safely this summer and get in great shape.
Avoid Midday Heat
Avoid exercising during the middle of the day during hot or humid periods, when the heat is at its worst. It is best to work out first thing in the morning, as early as possible, when the temperature is the coolest. Alternatively, wait until just before sundown when the temperature has cooled off.
If you have been working out indoors, allow yourself time to become acclimated to outdoor conditions. Start off with short periods of outdoor exercise and gradually increase the time and intensity of your workout. Begin with a workout equal to approximately half the time of your normal indoor routine and then increase the time by five minutes each session until you reach the desired time period.
Dehydration causes more heat-related health problems than any other issue. Mental confusion, lightheadedness and dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps and weakness, nausea and vomiting are all results of dehydration, and are all easily avoided by drinking plenty of water. As a rule of thumb, you should consume 6- to 8-ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise, twice that amount during intense exercise or when the weather is extremely hot or humid. If you are working out extremely hard, sports drinks will replenish both fluids and electrolytes.
Sunburn can be a serious consequence of exercising outdoors and a sunscreen with adequate SPF of 15 or higher should be worn during the hours of 9am and 4pm. Bear in mind that the effects of sunburn are cumulative over a person’s lifetime, and every time you get sunburned the injury is added to the damage of previous sunburns, which can lead to skin cancer. Exercise safely this summer when you are outdoors, and cover up with sunscreen.