10 Tips for Exercising in the Heat

The heat is on! Here are 10 tips to remember when taking your exercise routine outside this summer.

  1. Ask your doctor before starting any exercise program. Make sure to ask if any medications you take have side effects that may increase heat-related illnesses.
     
  2. Know your climate and route. Check the temperature, heat index and humidity, and plan routes that have shade.
     
  3. Avoid mid-day sun. Exercise in the morning or evening when it is cooler outside, rather than the middle of the day. Heat and humidity create extra stress on the heart and lungs.
     
  4. Take is slow. If you’re not used to exercising outdoors in the heat, take it easy. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase your workouts. Do not try something new on a hot day.
     
  5. Wear appropriate clothing. Dressing in light, loose, breathable clothing promotes sweat evaporation and cooling. Avoid dark colors that can absorb heat.
     
  6. Keep hydrated. Your body’s ability to sweat and cool down depends on how hydrated you are.

    > Drink 20 oz. of water about 2 hours before the workout.
    > Drink 8 oz. of water shortly before the workout.
    > Drink plenty of water during your workout; gulp every 15 to 20 minutes even if you are not thirsty.
     

  7. Wear sunscreen. Sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
     
  8. Have a back-up plan. If it is extremely hot or humid, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside a mall or climb stairs in an air-conditioned building.
     
  9. Rehydrate. When you sweat, your body loses electrolytes that help maintain fluid balance in the body. If you exercise more than an hour, replenish fluids while you are exercising. After your workout, consider having a sports drink or eating a salty snack.
     
  10. Use common sense. Thank about what you have done the day before or earlier that day. Diuretics, alcohol and caffeine can increase the effects of dehydration. If you start feeling fatigued, weak, nauseous, dizzy or you experience muscle cramping, respiratory distress and stop sweating, GET INSIDE!
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