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Exercising in the Heat
After a long winter stuck inside, you probably want to get out and get moving when summer comes. But be careful when you are exercising outdoors in the summer, because heat can be deadly.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, heat stresses your body, especially your heart and circulatory system as your body circulates blood to try to cool you off. This can lead to a variety of heat-related conditions, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.
The main indications that you are getting overheated are weakness, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, and a rapid heartrate. If you experience any of these symptoms, get out of the heat and into a cool place, and drink water. If you still feel funny after an hour or so, call your doctor. And if at any time you have a fever over 102 F or feel faint or confused, go to the emergency room.
So how can you avoid these heat-related problems? Exercise a little common sense:
Finally, if it is really beastly out, stay inside. Run at a gym or community center, or swim laps. You should never risk your health for your workout.
- Go slow. It takes your body awhile to acclimate to the heat, especially early in the summer. So take your time working up to your maximum workout. If it is very hot or humid, take even more time.
- Drink lots of fluids, even if you are not thirsty. If you are exercising for a long time, drink a sports drink such as Gatorade that can give you nutrients your body is losing through sweat. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol before or during exercise, because both of these are diuretics, meaning they cause you to get rid of fluids.
- Don’t exercise during the heat of the day. Plan your run for early in the morning or play golf later in the evening, when the conditions are less extreme.
- Dress in light clothing that breathes. Choose loose-fitting cotton or clothes made of fabric specially designed to wick away sweat to keep you cooler.
- Wear sunscreen. A sunburn could keep you out of commission for a long time. Plus, sunscreen helps protect against skin cancer.