Throughout the summer, people have a tendency to become more active outside due to the nice warm weather, allowing them to exercise while enjoying the outdoors. What people tend to forget is that they must prepare their bodies for the excess heat they don’t face during the winter and colder days of spring. This excess heat can be avoided and prevented if simple actions are taken before and after exercises. First, it is important to understand what can happen to you and what to look for if you don’t prepare your body for the heat.
If preparation for outdoor activities isn’t taken, there could be consequences such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is important to know and understand the signs of these consequences so if they do occur, you can take the proper actions to avoid these concerns. Signs of heat exhaustion include general fatigue, weakness, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, and an increase in body temperature. Signs of heat stroke can include an inability to sweat, temperatures above 104, acute respiratory distress and loss of consciousness. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and it is your job to know when your body is being over used to the point where it can become dangerous to your health.
While there are signs to warn you that your body is being affected by the heat, there are precautions to take before exercising in the heat that can prevent damage to your body:
• The biggest concern about summer exercise is keeping your body hydrated. Water is the best fluid to drink to maintain hydration. Drinking 20 ounces of water two hours before exercising, 8 ounces right before going out into the heat, and gulps every 15-20 minutes should preserve your bodie’s hydration.
• Become accustomed to the heat before putting your body through vigorous exercise. Getting your body used to the heat by going outside regularly allows you to be familiar with the heat, putting less stress on your body.
• Be aware of the temperature outside. If it is hotter then you are used to, don’t feel the need to push yourself as if it was a cooler day. Slow down your pace if necessary, there’s nothing wrong with finishing a little later than usual.
• Proper clothing is also very important when preparing for exercise in the heat. Light colors to reflect the sun and lightweight, breathable fabrics that wick away sweat are best for exercising in heat. Applying sunscreen to exposed areas helps as well.
• Exercising early or late in the day can also help with keeping your body temperature down. Before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m. are the best times to exercise outside because those time frames are the cooler parts of the day.
• Altering your exercise route to keep you in the shade and out of the sun can also help keep your body cool.
- • Exercising with a partner is also a good idea because they can monitor your performance, so if you seem to be lagging behind or struggling they can inform you to slow down and/or rest.
- • Stretching is also vital before exercising. Preparing your muscles for strenuous activity can prevent injury.
There are always different ways to make exercising more enjoyable. If you follow these tips for exercising in the heat, being out in the sun won’t affect your performance.