Heat tips can ensure a safe active summer

By Betsy ConnBy Betsy Conn


Being outdoors during the summer months is something that leaves everyone anxious. However, each year high temperatures put people at risk.

When you plan to exercise outside there are many important facts to know to prevent possible injuries. The body naturally becomes dehydrated when your body loses water and salt during physical activity through perspiration. It is extremely important to be more aware of your liquid intake when participating in activities in the heat. Dehydration can lead to more serious injuries. It is important to give yourself frequent breaks and to replenish your body of lost liquids. Water is the best choice. But if you participate in strenuous exercise for a long period of time you may want to consider a sports drink to revive your body’s need of lost minerals. If you plan to exercise outside during the summer months be aware of high temperatures and high humidity.

According to the International Association of Fitness Professionals you should avoid exercising outside if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or the humidity is 75 percent. In weather like this, your body loses its control to cool down when sweat is prevented from evaporating normally. This prevents the body to release heat which causes possible heat exhaustion or a heat stroke. You can also watch or listen to the news to determine if it is safe or not to be outside on really hot days. According to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention it is important to take the necessary precautions when planning to exercise during the summer months.

DO exercise during the cooler and less humid parts of the day, such as early morning and late evening. Avoid exercising between 10 A.M. and 2:30 P.M.

DO exercise less than normal for a week to allow your body to adapt to the heat.

DO drink fluids often.

DO wear minimum of light, loose fitted clothing.

DO wear sun block, a hat, and sunglasses.

It is also important to pay attention to the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stoke. The warning signs are dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, and low body temperature. The warning signs of a heat stroke are similar but include muscle cramps, lack of sweat, and a high body temperature. If any of these symptoms should appear, stop exercising, seek shade, eat a small snack and drink water. The continuation of exercise can lead to even more severe risks such as heart problems and sudden death.

Another fact to consider when you plan to exercise, especially in the summer months is your amount of food consumed. It is important to eat enough food so your body will not run out of fuel and easily become fatigued. The desired foods are carbohydrates, which provide your body with a lasting energy supply opposed to fats, which offer a short splurge of energy.

The summertime should be spent enjoying the splendid weather. Go outdoors and do something that you can’t do otherwise. Don’t let the heat keep you from enjoying the beautiful outdoors. The summer can be very enjoyable and injury free if you pay special attention to your body’s needs.