Exercise Safely in Hot Weather
Wow- today is a “hot one.” Summer time is that time of year that we all rush outside to go for a run, do yard work or play a game of soccer or Frisbee. On days like today, we need to be extra careful to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
This post was inspired by today’s forecast for a high of 99 degrees and a friend of mine who was exercising outside a couple weeks ago. She suffered from a bit of heat exhaustion- felt dizzy, nauseous and weak after her morning workout. Luckily, my friend is a certified fitness trainer so knew the symptoms and what to do. She guzzled lots of water, some with salt, and recovered pretty quickly.
When it’s HOT, it’s important to make sure we take precautions to stay safe. If our bodies become overheated, we can become dehydrated and fast! You can even suffer from heat stroke. And it’s especially important to think about the your kids who may get so caught up in the fun of a game at camp or in your backyard that they’ll forget to stop and drink water. Also, elderly and overweight individuals should take extra precautions on hot days.
Humidity and high temperatures can both increase your core body temperatures. Obviously high temperatures will make you hot, but when it’s humid perspiration (body’s natural cooling element) doesn’t evaporate as quickly from your skin making your heart work extra hard to keep your body cool.
Here are a few things we can all do to take extra precautions when exercising on HOT days:
1) Exercise early or late in the day OR indoors. While we all like to be outside in the summertime, on hot humid days you may want to plan your workouts for early morning before the sun is fully out or late in the evening as the sun starts to set. Better yet, take advantage of your local fitness club where the AC is kicking.
2) Dress Right- wear white or light colored clothes and clothes designed to deflect the sweat. If you are doing an outdoor activity like biking- you may want to shorten your workout. Helmets and other athletic gear can raise your body temperatures. Use sunscreen of 15 SPF or higher and make sure you re-apply it. Wear sunglasses.
3) Hydrate Your Body- Drink lots of water and eat lots of fruits and vegetables i.e. watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe, crisp lettuce and cucumbers. Fruits and veggies naturally have a high water content and can help hydrate your body. They will also replace much needed potassium levels. Drink water before and after your workout and bring lots of water with you.
4) Listen to Your Body- It’s not “no pain, no gain” in the hot weather. Pain can actually mean trouble when it’s hot and humid. Listen to your body and know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
5) Replenish Your Body-You can actually lose a few pounds of water weight just through sweating. Be sure to continue to drink lots of water throughout the day before & after your workout. If you are training for a sport and are hard core, you may want to consider weighing yourself before and after a workout to make sure to replace each pound of weight loss with up to 3 cups of water. Sports drinks and salt water can also help your body refuel.
6) Know the Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Dehydration is a serious medical condition. Exercise in hot, humid weather can rapidly raise your body’s core temperature, putting you at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures, and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Skin may be cool and moist. Your pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.
“Signs of heat exhaustion include: Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.
With heat stroke victims, look for the following symptoms:
- Hot, dry skin (no sweating)
- Strong, rapid pulse
- Throbbing headache
- A body temperature of above 103°F
If you see someone with any warning signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately, then cool the victim however you can (for example, immerse the victim in cold water, spray the victim with a hose and move him to a shady spot).“
Kristie Finnan is a Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist, Freelance Writer and Published Children's Author. She is the Mom of 3 and Food Snob with a passion for Nutrition Education, Healthy Kids Foods, Marketing and Social Media. Kristie is the Creative Director/Editor for www.DivaDietitian.com and www.KidsLoveFood.com & Founder of www.DoylestownNutrition.com. Diva Dietitian blogs in Full Disclosure. Please see: http://kristiefinnan.com/about/disclosure.