It’s been a warm summer here in Minnesota! August is off to a warm start, as well. This week let’s talk about exercising in warm weather. It can be pretty dangerous if you aren’t adjusting for the heat.
Some consequences are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Both are possible when your body gets overheated. When I was an athletic trainer, we were always working with athletes during the summer season to make sure they were taking measures to keep their bodies from overheating.
Find shade! If you are outside in activity, find the trees when you can. Either stay in the shade when you’re active or take breaks frequently. If you’re running, chose a path that’s more covered. Sometimes there are covered areas at sports centers, so look for places to get out of the sun.
Cooling as you go! For athletes more so than runners, you can have a bucket with ice water and towels handy. Take the towels out and cool yourself down by wearing it on your neck while playing, or using it during a break to cool down. Sometimes I even put it over my head when I am on a break.
Proper clothing! Moisture wicking clothes can help by taking the sweat off your body. Breathable clothing is key to ensure your body temperature doesn’t continue to rise. Wearing a hat blocks the sun, as well.
If you know you are going to be outside in the heat and exercising or prolonged activity, start hydrating the day before. Of course, you’ll want to continue to hydrate and take water breaks during the activity. I like to do the “free pee” test. Your urine color is usually a good indication for how hydrated you are. If it is dark yellow or orange, you are dehydrated. If it is clear to a light yellow, your hydration is okay. Make sure to check in when you do to the bathroom and monitor, especially when you have been exposed.
Re-hydrate when you’re done! This ensures that if you did get dehydrated, you are replenishing your body with the needed fluids. I like to use Nuun electrolyte tablets (https://nuunlife.com/). All you do is put the tablet in water and drink the mixture. Some people eat bananas or salty foods. What ever you choose, make sure you are taking steps to replenish your fluids.
Here’s to everyone staying healthy for the remainder of the summer. Let me know what tips you follow when exercising in the hot weather.