As Spring approaches and warmer weather makes its return, what can we do to protect ourselves from heat related illnesses while exercising outdoors? Illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke are easily preventable. Outlined below you will find some tips to keep you safe and healthy as the weather heats up.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing – Light colors don’t trap heat from the sun’s rays like darker colors do, and wearing clothes that move and breathe allows heat to escape through your skin.
- Stay hydrated – You’ve got to drink LOTS of fluids, to replace those you lose sweating. Drinking 8 oz of water every 15 minutes while exercising is recommended in a heated environment.
- Wear a hat and/or sunscreen – Makes sense, right? Just by reducing the amount of sun that reaches your skin, you keep yourself cooler. And if you’ve ever had a bad sunburn, you know it only makes the heat feel hotter. On top of the fact that you’ll be reducing your risk of skin cancer. Added perk!
- Seek out shade – Just avoid being directly in the sun if at all possible. The air temperature will feel as much as 15 degrees cooler in the shade.
- Allow time for your body to acclimate to the heat – It can take as long as 2 weeks for your body to completely acclimate to exercising in a heated environment. Consider reducing your exercise intensity and duration if you are just beginning to exercise in the warmer temperatures.
Above all, just listen to your body. If you start to feel any symptoms of nausea, dizziness, fatigue and/or shortness of breath, stop exercising immediately and ask for help. If recognized early enough, moving to a cooled area and drinking water will usually get rid of any symptoms of heat illness. Happy exercising everybody! Stay safe out there!
-by Savannah Swafford, METFitness Coordinator