Summer has just begun and temperatures are rising. Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. It is important to use precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses:
- Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water! Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. To help your body sweat and cool down, you need to be hydrated.
- Rule of Thumb: Do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids.
- If you plan to exercise intensely, consider a sports drink to replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating.
- Watch the weather. Pay attention to the forecasts and heat alerts. Know what the temperature is expected to be for the duration of your planned outdoor activity.
- Get acclimated. If you’re use to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in the heat so your body can adapt. This takes about two weeks for your body to adapt to exercising in the heat.
- Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat.
- Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening, when it is likely to be cooler outdoors.
- Wear sunscreen. A sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
Following these simple tips can decrease your risk of developing a heat related illness!
Blog Post by Summer 2014 Intern Ashley LeBlanc.