Exercise is good for the body. When the weather warms up, many people want to get outside and get moving. Runners and other athletes train and work out in the outdoors. It’s important to practice some prudence, though, as you exercise out of doors.
Prevention Is Key
As you get ready for an outdoor workout on a hot summer day, make sure you take some preventative steps. Here are some things to consider in preventing problems such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration.
- Don’t engage in heavy exercise during the hottest times of the day. Work out in the early mornings or evenings when the sun is low on the horizon (or below it!).
- Stay hydrated. Bring drinks with you; don’t rely on drive-through restaurants, concession stands, or drink machines to provide your fluid needs. The best sports drink you can make yourself is a quart of water, the juice of half a lemon, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and a tablespoon of raw honey. Mix well and chill. Bring at least a quart of fluid per person with you; two quarts is better.
- Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is a much more serious condition. If you experience any of these signs, get out of the heat immediately and drink copious fluids. Signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Increased sweating
- Pallor or loss of color
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Have a plan in place before you begin exercising. Plan the time of day, the length of your workout, and what you will do in case you feel faint or have other signs of heat-induced illness. Keep a cell phone handy. Have a back-up plan, too, in case the weather is too hot or your schedule won’t allow you to exercise at a cooler time of day.
Don’t Overdo It
Be sure to pace yourself. Don’t try to lose weight and tone muscles in a few hours! Regularity is healthier than severity. In other words, working out at cooler times of the day for shorter periods is healthier than a four-hour session in the mid-afternoon.
Indoor gyms exist for a reason – sometimes the weather just doesn’t permit outdoor exercising. Also, indoor gyms provide exercise equipment and the opportunity to socialize. You can swim at an indoor pool without worrying about sunburn. If you can’t exercise at a cool time of day, an indoor gym is a good option.