Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:09
You have been loyal to your outdoor exercise program for months; walking, even when your muscles ached or biking, even when your arthritis acted up. Due to your dedication, your body is strong, your health is good and your endurance is better than ever, then summer approaches and the environmental thermostat begins to rise.
Does that mean your beloved outdoor workout has to end when those warm months roll around? Only in your dreams, because with proper precautions, you can keep on trucking and workout in the summer heat.
Tips for Working Out in the Heat:
Buckley, J. (2011), "When Summer Begins, Outside Workouts Don’t Have to End", Today's Caregiver; original article can be viewed here.
- Check weather reports. What you are mainly concerned about is not only the temperature, but also the humidity. High heat and humidity can cause exhaustion, heat cramps or worse. When there’s a lot of moisture in the air, the body isn’t able to rid itself of heat as well as in a drier environment because the body can’t evaporate sweat, so watch humidity levels.
- Notice your body’s signals. Indications that the body is straining itself during a workout include: a higher heart rate than normal, nausea, excessive sweating or inability to sweat and lightheadedness. Take these symptoms seriously and slow down.
- Hydrate yourself. If you feel thirsty, your body may already be experiencing dehydration. Drink a minimum of 8 ounces of water, 20 minutes before a workout and at least 4 ounces of water every 15 minutes during activity.
- People with heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes should be extremely careful about over exerting themselves in high heat and humidity so consider working out in the early morning or evening and still watch the humidity.
- Know your heat tolerance. People can adapt to their climate so heat tolerances vary. If you are accustomed to working out in a high humidity climate, you may be ok during high heat, high humidity days. But, if you are a vacationer from Arizona trying to workout in the humidity of Florida, you may find yourself in trouble.
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a hat to keep your face and head cool. There are specially manufactured materials in stores that you can buy to help keep moisture away from the skin.
- Wear a specially formulated sunscreen for participating in sports. They tend to be less greasy and stay on better. Also, wear UV protecting sunglasses to guard against ultra violet radiation.
- If you feel especially fatigued, slow down. Even top-notch athletes know when to say, “uncle”. If you still feel depleted, take a cool shower.
- If you are experiencing heat cramps, which are less severe than regular cramps, it may be a sign your body is having problems with the heat so lower the intensity.
- Stay away from highly sweetened waters during activity because they may upset your stomach. Also, carbonated drinks during a workout may cause a dehydrating effect so consider sticking with regular water.