Summer is a great time for being active. Even
if you live where it gets hot or humid, there are ways you can stay in shape
year-round. But make sure to take precautions when you are active
Be safe in the heat
If the temperature is lower than
80°F (27°C), you usually can be
active outside without taking extra precautions. It depends on how active you
already are and how used to hot weather you are.
But anytime you
exercise, it's a good idea to take these normal precautions:
When the temperature gets above
80°F (27°C), consider the heat
and the humidity. Both can put you at risk for heat-related illness. The hotter
or more humid it is, the higher your risk. For example, if the humidity is 60%
When it is more humid, you should be careful at even lower
temperatures. Higher humidity can make it feel hotter, since your body cannot
cool off as well by sweating. This puts you at a greater risk for illness. For
more information, see the website www.nws.noaa.gov and search for "heat
Older adults and children are at a higher risk for
heat-related illness and should be extra cautious. Remind children to drink
plenty of fluids before, during, and after activity.
If you are overweight, have health problems, take medicines, or use
alcohol, you may be at a higher risk for heat-related illness. You
may also have trouble if you're not used to exercising in warmer
In hot weather,
drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after activity. Water or sports
drinks are best. This helps to prevent dehydration and heat-related illness.
Water is all you need if you are exercising for less than an hour. For longer
exercise periods, sports drinks contain carbohydrate and minerals called
electrolytes that may help your endurance and keep you from getting muscle
or other emergency services immediately if you have stopped
sweating or have other signs of heatstroke, such as a fast heart rate, passing
out, high body temperature, feeling confused, or having no energy. Heatstroke
is very dangerous.
When it's hot or humid,
be active during the cooler times of day. Find shaded areas, like parks with
big trees, and drink plenty of fluids. You have less chance of getting too hot
if you do lighter exercise, like walking. Be sure to wear sunscreen.
Other Works Consulted
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2013). Heat: A major killer. Available online: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml.
October 25, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
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