exercise goals, summer heat, heat stroke, heat-related illnessWhen it’s hot and humid outdoors, don’t let the weather deter you from hitting your exercise goals. You can safely exercise outdoors during the summer – as long as you pay attention to how you’re feeling and take precautions to steer clear of heat-related illness.

Exercise, when combined with eating healthy foods in appropriate portions, can help you lose weight or maintain the pounds you’ve already dropped. Too often, however, it’s easy to skip a workout. Don’t let the hot weather outside deter you from meeting your weekly exercise goals. Federal health authorities recommend all adults have 2.5 hours every week of physical activity at a moderate intensity. If working out for an hour seems too much, try 30 minutes for five days per week.

Here are four tips to help you stay safe while exercising outdoors this summer.

  1. Always check the weather forecast – even if you’re simply walking around your neighborhood. If it’s very hot and humid, consider taking a walk inside a shopping mall so you can stay in the air-conditioning. Many people tend to cut their walk shorts or skip exercising altogether when it’s hot outdoors. If you belong to a gym, try walking on the treadmill or working out in the weight room.
  2. Exercise during the coolest parts of the day. You may find it’s easier to exercise in the early morning before the temperatures rise or in the early evening when things start to cool off a bit.
  3. Drink plenty of water. You should always drink water before, during and after working out. Drink water regularly during your workout but don’t consume more than three cups of water in an hour.
  4. Dress for the weather. If it’s hot, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes in natural, breathable fabrics. Never wear rubberized or plastic suits for exercise. They won’t help you lose weight by making you sweat more, however, they can cause dangerously high body temperatures.

Always stay alert to how you’re feeling during exercise. If you’re active outdoors in hot, humid weather, watch for any signs of heat-related illness:

  • Fainting, headache, dizziness, or nausea
  • Body temperature over 105°F
  • A change in behavior—confusion, agitation, being grouchy, acting strangely, staggering, or being unresponsive
  • Dry, flushed skin and a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse
  • Not sweating even if it is hot

Source: National Institutes of Health


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