When the weather warms, you need to be acclimated to the temperature change in order to safely exercise. It can take up to 14 days to adjust to temperature changes. If you have an event that will take place in the heat of the day, go out in the middle of the day and acclimate yourself and get active in the heat ahead of time.
When it comes to summer exercise the biggest concern is hydration. As you exercise, you can lose 2 /12 cups of water per pound of body weight. If you come back from a summer workout 1 to 2 pounds lighter, you’ve got to do a better job keeping up with hydration. To maintain good hydration for a moderate summer workout, drink 20 ounces of water two hours before exercise, at least 8 ounces of water shortly before getting out in the heat, and then a gulp every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise. Make sure to talk to your doctor about specific fluid intake when you exercise.
When the temperature hits the 90s, it’s time to cut back the pace or the exposure. Don’t try to keep up with friends who are more fit or have a higher tolerance for heat.
Wear Light, Breathable Clothing
Do not overdress and cover up your working muscles such as the legs which generate a lot of heat. Wear lightweight fabrics that wick away sweat. Clothes should also be light in color in order to reflect the sun. Always wear sunscreen when you exercise outdoors.
Exercise Early or Late
If possible, get out before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to exercise in the summer months. At these times, heat and humidity should be at their lowest and will not slow your exercise down.
Know the Route and Climate.
Make sure that there’s some shade along the way of your route and that you’re not exposed to constant direct sunlight. Check the heat index for the relative humidity that day and plan accordingly. Contain your summer exercise to the least hot and humid part of the day.
Use Common Sense
The biggest thing with heat and exercise is common sense. If you’re feeling bad, you need to get inside and get your core temperature down. Even if you are in an event, it’s just not worth it. You want to live to run another day.
Consult your Doctor or Pharmacist
Many medications can intensify the effects of heat-related illnesses. Decongestants, appetite suppressants, antihistamines, antihypertensives, and antidepressants can hasten dehydration and decrease the body’s ability to recognize danger. Even diuretics like caffeine and alcohol, when consumed before exercising in the heat, can accelerate the effects of dehydration.
The Women’s Health Task Force is a small group volunteering their time to educate women and families on important health issues. If you have an interest in health, work in a caring profession, or just want to volunteer with other sincere women, consider attending our monthly planning meetings. These meetings are held the first Thursday of each month beginning at noon. The next meeting will be held June 7, in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Clearfield County Career & Technology Center, 1620 River Road in Clearfield. All interested persons are encouraged to attend. Additional information is available by calling Andrea Bressler, Penn State Extension, at 765-7878.
Leslie McGonigal, M.S., CPT. ELC, CNHP
Health and Fitness Professional