Keeping Your Body Cool During Hot Weather Exercise
As refreshing as summertime physical fitness exercises can be, the opportunity to work on your tan comes with its own set of challenges as the temperature soars. For proper body care, when choosing outdoor exercises in the heat, make sure to use caution and your common sense to reduce the incident of heat-related illnesses. Even though you may not notice the temperature increasing, your body will.
The Effects of Outdoor Exercises
- In addition to the obvious affects heat has on your body, outdoor exercises in the warm temperatures can put extra stress on your heart and lungs which, in turn, affects your health and beauty. When you exercise you heat up your body. When combined with warm air this causes your body to dissipate heat. In order to do this, your body circulates more blood through your skin which leaves less blood for your muscles and increases your heart rate. In high humidity your body will endure more stress as sweat does not evaporate from your skin and it pushes your body temperature higher.
When exposed to high humidity and temperatures too long, adhere to proper body care as your natural cooling systems may fail. In normal weather conditions your perspiration, skin and blood vessels will adjust to the heat. However, in extreme conditions, you may develop cramping, exhaustion or heatstroke.
Rules to Follow During Outdoor Exercises
When taking advantage of the warm summer weather it is best to follow these simple rules.
- Pace Yourself – Remember that you can’t always accomplish the same amount of physical fitness outdoor exercises as you can indoors. Start slow and gradually increase the intensity and length of your daily exercise program as your body adjusts to the heat.
- Stay Hydrated – Even if you don’t feel thirsty, make sure to drink plenty of water while working out. Adequate rehydration dictates your body’s ability to sweat and cool down. If your daily exercise program is intense and lasts longer than one hour, opt for sports drinks instead as they replace sodium, chloride and potassium lost through sweating. Above all else, make sure to avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks as they actually promote fluid loss.
- Watch What You Wear – Manage the heat by wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothes, they aid in sweat evaporation and cooling as it allows more air to pass over the body. When choosing your outerwear, remember to choose lighter colors as dark colors actually absorb more heat.
- Stay Away From the Midday Sun – Try to fit-in your exercise in the morning and the evening and leave the midday hours for relaxation and recreation with your friends and family. The midday sun is the hottest of the day and should be enjoyed in the shade or in the pool.
- Remember the Sunscreen – Avoid that sunburn as it will decrease your body’s ability to cool itself in addition to greatly decrease your ability to enjoy those summer months.
As fun as summertime physical fitness outdoor exercises can be, you also need to be aware of and sensitive to the signs and symptoms of heat related illness. If you notice dizziness, headache, weakness, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps or a rapid heartbeat stop exercising and stay out of the heat. If you think you are suffering from a heat-related illness, drink plenty of water and then wet down and fan your skin. If you are not feeling better within an hour, you may need to contact your doctor.
The active you knows that regular physical activity is important for your body care regime and you probably love to do everything outdoors, however, don’t let summertime workouts put your health at risk. If you suffer from a chronic medical condition or take medication, seek your doctor’s advice on additional precautions you may need to take and, remember, if you are concerned about outdoor exercises in the humidity or heat, stay indoors and visit your neighborhood gym or walk laps and climb stairs in an inside the mall or air-conditioned building.