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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Heat is On! Tips for exercising in the heat.

The temperature is rising and people are migrating outdoors for exercise and summer activity.  Keep in mind your body temp can actually rise when exercising in hot, humid conditions.  Children and older adults must be especially careful as their bodies do not regulate body temp as well, so they may not recognize when they are getting overheated. 

Here are some strategies to prevent heat related illnesses while doing outdoor activities:
  1. Stay Hydrated – Drink water before, during and after exercise to keep up with the demands of the heat.  Large amount of sweat loss is not exactly good for you (although some perceive it as a sign of accomplishment) so make sure you at least replace what you lost during exercise.  How to know if you are dehydrated?  Monitor your urine.  If it is dark yellow, drink more and if your input of fluid doesn't equal output, drink more.
  2.  Reduce Exercise Intensity – at least the first couple of times you are out in the heat.  Make sure your body can handle it before you increase intensity.
  3. Watch heat and humidity levels – pay attention to heat index values that factor in the humidity and temperature.  The higher the humidity, the higher the risk for heat related illnesses.  Exercise early in the morning to best avoid this situation.
  4. Clothing – Wear clothing that is light-weight, loose fitting, light colored and of a material that absorbs water (dri-fit by Nike is an example).  This allows the body to sweat and dissipate heat.
  5. Rest – Know when to say NO to outdoor exercise.  Don’t be afraid to take a day off if mother nature doesn’t allow you to exercise outdoors or opt for an air-conditioned option.

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