Fitness in the Keys…How to Exercise Safely in the Heat

During the cooler winter months, our bodies enjoy moving around outdoors in nice temperatures, unencumbered by excessive heat.  But when the dog days of summer arrive, or even the warmer days of the winter season, we need to be prepared because exercising in the heat can be risky.

Our bodies regulate heat by releasing sweat which allows us to cool down. And, when the body is sweating, it’s losing fluid. If your body can no longer cool itself down, it starts storing heat inside resulting in a rise to your core temperature, putting your internal organs and central nervous system at risk.

So, if you find yourself working out in the great outdoors, stay vigilant for signs of heat exhaustion which can include the following:  fatigue, weakness, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, and an increase in body temperature. Temperatures above 104, an inability to sweat, acute respiratory distress, and loss of consciousness can be signs of heat stroke, which is much more severe and can lead to death.

Knowing that exercising in the heat comes with risk, does this mean you should abandon your summer workout plans? No! Play it smart.

Exercise safely in the heat by following these guidelines:

1. Check The Clock

Try to arrange your workouts during cooler times of the day when it’s cooler such as early morning or late afternoon.

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Drink 16 – 20 ounces of water an hour or two before you workout, another 8 ounces right before going out in the heat and every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.

3. Slow Down

On the hottest days, plan on lowering your intensity and perhaps shortening the duration of your workout.

4. Watch What You Wear

Wear light colored, breathable clothes and don’t skimp on the sunscreen.

5. Bring It Inside

Take a break from the heat and bring your workout inside; mix it up by taking a few group exercise classes or running intervals on the treadmill.

Thanks Cornerstone Clubs and author Theresa Whitcomb

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