Spring and summer months are a great time to start engaging in more physical activity through walking or jogging routines to improve fitness, overall health, and losing weight.
As the days get warmer, though, you should be mindful that exercising in hotter temperatures can put you at risk of certain heat related illness such as heat stroke or exhaustion.
Heat related illness is a result of the body’s inability to sustain its temperature regulation. This can occur as a result of several factors such as dehydration and/or not being acclimatized to the conditions. However, by planning for the warmer conditions, you can prevent heat illness.
Here are some tips to prevent heat illness:
- Talk to your physician about your fitness ability along with any medications you are taking that could increase your risk of heat exhaustion (e.g. diuretics and stimulants).
- Allow your body time to acclimate to the hotter environment by starting a routine at lower intensities and shorter durations of time, then gradually progressing.
- Plan exercise activities during the cooler parts of the day when the sun is less intense (mornings or evenings).
- During exercise, take breaks for water frequently (consume about 8 oz. every 20 minutes).
- Hydrate with water or sports drinks both pre and post exercise (consume 24 oz. non-caffeinated liquid 2 hours prior to exercising).
- Monitor your urine color to see how dehydrated you may be (urine should be light to clear colored).
- Check your bodyweight both before and after exercising to see how much fluid you have lost.
- Wear light colored clothing.
- Use sunscreen.
- Check weather conditions for heat advisories.
Check out the CDC website for more info on the warning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke along with how to treat heat illness.
These recommendations come from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).