With many people now exercising outdoors instead of indoor gyms and studios, it is important to be aware of the dangers of heat illnesses brought on by exertion and the steps you can take to safely exercise in the heat:
Tips to keep in mind
Timing is key: Try to avoid exercising outside in the early afternoon. It’s usually hottest between noon and 3 p.m.
Hydrate: Drink water before, during and after physical activity, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Bring a bottle of water with you, or plan water stops along your route.
Dress for success: Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Moisture-wicking fabric can also be a big help. Protect yourself from the sun with sunglasses, a hat or visor and plenty of sweat-resistant sunscreen.
Listen to your body: Take frequent breaks in the shade, and drink water before you’re thirsty. Allow yourself time to adapt to the heat — some experts say that this can take about 4-14 days. You may not be able to work out as long or as hard as usual when it’s very hot.
Doctor’s orders: Check with your healthcare professional before starting an exercise routine or moving your workout outdoors if you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, other chronic disease or any medical concerns.
Buddy up: If you can, work out with a partner for safety … and fun!
Know the signs of heat-related conditions.
According to the National Institutes of Health, heat illnesses or emergencies can occur with exposure to high temperatures and humidity. Dehydration can occur when you don’t replace body fluids lost by sweating. Being even slightly dehydrated can make you feel bad and put you at greater risk for heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion:
Cool, moist skin
Dizziness and light-headedness
Nausea and vomiting
If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by using cool wet cloths, compresses, and fanning. You may need to seek medical attention.
Symptoms of heat stroke:
The symptoms of heat stroke include (call 911 or the local emergency number right away):
Fever (temperature above 104 °F)
Dry, hot, and red skin
Rapid, shallow breathing
Rapid, weak pulse
If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.
For more tips on staying safe in high temperatures visit www.heart.org.