By Elaine Munn
Hot summer temperatures and high humidity can make outdoor workouts uncomfortable as well as put you at risk for heat exhaustion or life-threatening heat stroke. Exercise and air temperature increase the body temperature, and humidity prevents sweat, the body’s natural air-conditioning, from readily evaporating.
When exercising outdoors in hot weather, take these precautions:
Know the temperatures and exercise early mornings and evenings, which are the coolest parts of the day.
Adapt to high temperatures gradually, starting with shorter periods of time and increasing time and intensity over one or two weeks. Take breaks when needed.
Dress in lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing that allows sweat to evaporate.
Wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn, which also causes the body temperature to rise.
Hydrate. Water replenishes fluid lost in perspiration and helps cool the body. By the time you feel thirsty you are already heading toward dehydration. Drink a glass of cold water about 15 minutes before heading outside. Carry a bottle of cool water with you. You can sip it and splash some on your face to keep you feeling cool. Drink more when you get home.
Take advantage of air-conditioned gyms for workouts or malls for walking. Or do a water workout in a pool.
If you develop any of these symptoms, you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated.
Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition.
Remove extra clothing or sports equipment. Drink fluids – water or a sports drink. If possible, fan your body or wet down with cool water.
If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, contact your doctor.