South Florida is a great place to enjoy outdoor activities year round. Whether it’s running, cycling, rollerblading, tennis, golf, or an outdoor bootcamp, there are so many activities to choose from. But now summer is here, and with it, soaring temperatures and humidity. Extreme temperatures and humidity can be a problem if you’re not careful, and lead to serious cases of heat-related illnesses.
The summer heat shouldn’t slow you down and can actually improve your fitness, but only if it’s done safely and properly. These tips will help keep you safe and healthy while you exercise outside:
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and drink a glass or two of water before your workout session begins. Then make sure to take frequent water breaks while you exercise, even when you’re not thirsty. When you’re done with your workout, have a few more glasses of water. If you find that your urine is dark yellow, you’ll know that you aren’t getting enough fluids in your system.
- Exercise in the mornings or evenings. Avoiding exercising during the hottest part of the day. You should either rise early or wait until the sun sets before heading out.
- Keep it loose. Keep it light. You’ll want to wear loose, lightweight fabrics that allow for more air to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool. Dark colors also absorb more heat, so stick to light colored clothing. You may also want to try specifically designed “hi-tech” clothing that are meant to keep you cool.
- Sunscreen is a must. It is important to protect your skin from getting burned or sun damage, even on cloudy days.
- Ease up. If you’re not use to the exercising in the heat and humidity, take it easy at first. As your body adapts to the heat, you can gradually increase the intensity and length of your workouts.
- Consult your physician. If you have a medical condition and/or take prescription medications, ask your physician if you need to take any additional precautions.
- Listen to your body. Muscle cramps are usually the first sign of heat exhaustion. If you are feeling any of the following, find a cool environment fast, drink cool water, loosen your clothing, and allow your body to return to a healthy temperature.
- Muscle cramps
- Heavy sweating
- Weakness or confusion
- old, pale, and clammy skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fast, weak pulse
Be aware. Know the warning signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses (heat exhaustion and heat stroke) and what to do. Remember, a heat stroke is a medical emergency and you should call 911 immediately, do not try to wait it out.