Our "Keep Moving" series continues with guest author and certified personal trainer Valerie McMillen offering some great tips on how to exercise safely in the summer heat!
SUMMER IS HERE!
Although the heat has most definitely been on in our area for quite some time, the first official day of summer arrived just this past week. So it’s time to remind ourselves to take extra precautions when enjoying outdoor fitness fun. Here are some friendly reminders how you can keep your body safe during this hot season:
SLOW IT DOWN
- Increase your duration and intensity gradually when exercising in the heat in order to allow your body to acclimatize to higher temperatures.
MIND THE HEAT INDEX
- The Heat Index is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.
- When the index is over 90 degrees (F) the risk of heat cramps and heat illness increases, and when it exceeds 105 degrees, heat exhaustion (aka heat stroke) can occur.
- Mind the heat index! If it spikes, move inside or take a rest day.
WATER, WATER, WATER
- Stay well hydrated before, during and after you exercise. The general rule for daily water consumption is 8 servings of 8-ounces of water = 8 cups a day!
- If your activity lasts longer than an hour or you sweat more than usual, it’s important to replace your electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride as well. Milk or a quick snack will do the trick! You can try one of these: peanut butter, yogurt, nuts, beans, leafy greens or bananas.
- You may choose a sports drink for electrolyte replacement, but beware of added sugar (and extra calories)!
- Wear breathable clothing and consider a hat as well as eye protection.
- Covering up may seem counterintuitive, but protecting your skin with a lightweight, breathable material will keep you cooler.
TIMING IS KEY
- Consider doing more of your activities in the cooler morning hours or after the sun sets.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
- Be extra mindful to listen to your body and take breaks more often.
CHILDREN ARE NOT SMALL ADULTS
- Children will overheat much more quickly than adults and they are often either unaware of being too hot OR are unwilling to stop their play to rest.
- Tips to keep kids cool:
- Encourage children to hydrate throughout the day.
- Monitor them during activities and have them take a break in the shade and/or cool down (water on their head, water/ice on their neck and underarms) if they become hot. This applies to swim meets, too!
- Model safe behavior on hot days and remind them to do that same... down the road you will be amazed at how much of what you say and do will stick with them.
Summer is here and can be a perfectly safe and enjoyable time for fitness fun.* Now, get out there and enjoy yourself!
Valerie McMillen | firstname.lastname@example.org | 916.804.7379
Certified Personal Trainer | Aerobics & Fitness Association of America
*Be sure to check with your physician before starting an exercise program.