When the temperatures start to rise, and summer’s heat sets in, it can be difficult to stay motivated when it comes to working out. Summer heat doesn’t have to be a challenge when it comes to hiking, jogging, or playing outdoor sports, but you need to be cautious of the dangers of heat illnesses that can be brought on by exertion.
When you work out outdoors in the summer, the heat can be dangerous. There are a few medical events that can occur when working in the heat, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Heat cramps are a type of pain or muscle spasms that you will often experience in your legs during intense exercise. If you begin to experience heat cramps, stop your exercise immediately, move inside to a cooler place, and drink water or a sports drink. If your cramps last more than an hour, you have heart issues, or you are on a low-sodium diet, you should seek medical help.
Heat exhaustion can cause weakness, dizziness, sweating, a fast, weak pulse, fainting, and nausea. If you are vomiting or have symptoms for longer than an hour, seek medical attention.
Heat stroke is the most serious of these conditions and occurs when the body’s temperate rises to 104 degrees or higher. Other symptoms to look out for include confusion, a fast and strong pulse, and in some cases, loss of consciousness. If you or your workout partner suffers from heat stroke, call 911.
To help prevent issues such as heat cramps or heat stroke, you can follow these tips for a safer summer workout experience:
If you plan to work out outdoors, you should reduce the intensity of the workout to ensure that it is safe and you don’t overexert yourself. For example, if you enjoy walking, you can reduce the intensity by avoiding steep hills. If you plan to exercise outdoors, do it before or after 10 am-5 pm when temperatures are highest.
One of the most important things to remember while exercising outdoors in warmer weather is to stay hydrated. Ensure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. You may even want to consider adding an electrolyte-enhancing beverage like Gatorade to your routine on sweltering days. The amount of water you need will vary, so it’s essential to pay attention to urine color. If you are properly hydrated, you will see light yellow urine, but if your urine is a darker yellow, similar to apple juice, you need to rehydrate.
Wear lightweight clothing that is made of breathable fabrics like cotton or polyester. Avoid wearing synthetic materials, as they can lead to overheating and discomfort. If possible, choose clothing with wicking properties to draw sweat away from your body and reduce heat buildup.
You also want to make sure to wear sunblock and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
Take frequent breaks during your workout so that you can stay cool and hydrated. This will also give you the opportunity to get out of direct sunlight and enjoy a bit of shade.
It’s also important to pay attention to the heat index, which is a combination of temperature and humidity. When the heat index is high, it’s best to avoid strenuous physical activity outside or reduce your intensity level.
During the summer, it’s great to visit a fitness center or gym where they have comfortable and safe temperatures, a variety of equipment, group classes, and more! If you are looking for a Washington fitness center like this, look no further than Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center! We offer comfortable, temperature-controlled workout spaces, aquatic group classes, as well as yoga, strength training, and more! Contact us today to join us this summer.