Safely In Heat
by Lynn Bode
Summer is officially here - finally - providing
the opportunity to spend more time enjoying
outdoor activities. For many, this means more
physical activities and playing sports. It's
important to be aware of potential dangers that
come with exercising in hot conditions. As long
as you know the dos and don'ts of working out
in the heat, you can take full advantage of
all the fun summer offers.
What you should do:
Drink plenty of fluids
It's extremely important to stay hydrated.
If you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated;
drink before you feel a need to. Be sure to
drink throughout the day (stick to non-caffeinated
beverages, preferably water). Also, drink 15-20
minutes before beginning your workout and every
15 minutes throughout the exercise.
The heat can decrease your appetite, but it's
important to get sufficient nutrition. Try eating
small meals 5-6 times per day. Include lots
of fruits and vegetables; aside from being nutritious,
fruits also tend to help with hydration.
Wear light, loose fitting clothes that
Cotton is always a good choice. If your outdoor
activity produces a lot of perspiration, consider
clothing that is designed to wick the sweat
Even if you exercise early in the morning or
late in the evening, anytime the sun is out
you can burn. Not only is sunburn destructive
to the skin and potentially dangerous, it also
hinders your body's ability to stay cool.
Use common sense
Don't attempt strenuous activities that your
body is not accustomed to. Stick to exercises
that you are familiar and comfortable with.
Check the weather forecast
It's best not to participate in intense outdoor
exercise sessions when the heat index registers
in the dangerous zone.
What you should not do:
Don't try to diet by sweating
Excessive perspiration is not the key to permanent
weight loss. Any decrease in the scale would
simply be a result of water loss, not fat reduction.
Don't adapt the "no pain, no gain"
Ignoring your body's signals could be dangerous.
Heat-related illnesses come with warning signs.
Be sure to learn how to recognize them and what
actions to take.
Don't forget to drink plenty of liquid
Just because your body is surrounded by water
does not mean that you are well-hydrated. As
with any land exercises, you need to regularly
replenish lost fluids when in the pool.
Avoid physical activity during the hottest
part of the day
This is usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
If you want (or need) to be working in very
hot temperatures, don't do it until you become
acclimated. Try to spend only a few minutes
per day in the hot conditions for the first
couple of weeks and then gradually increase
the time each day.
Avoid extreme changes in temperature
Don't hop from being extremely hot and sweating
excessively right into an ice cold, air-conditioned
environment. Try to cool your body down slightly
before exposing it to the extreme temperature
Whether you work outdoors or exercise outdoors
for enjoyment, following the above tips will
help you stay cool and safe during the dog days
of summer. So, get out there and have some fun!
Lynn Bode is a certified personal
trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness
programs. She founded Workouts For You, which
provides affordable online exercise programs
that are custom designed for each individual.
for a free sample workout. Fitness professionals
take your business online, visit: http://www.trainerforce.com