Tips for Safely Exercising in the Heat

With record heat expected to again blanket the Southland Wednesday, health experts are urging Angelenos to take extra precautions while exercising in the sweltering temperatures.

Staying hydrated, wearing breathable clothes and taking it easier are among the top nine tips, according to WebMD, that will make summer workouts safer.

Acclimate yourself: It can take up to two weeks to adjust to dramatic changes in temperature. Don’t run out into the heat if you’ve been used to air-conditioned buildings. Slowly increase your activity.

Stay hydrated: Drinking 20 ounces of water two hours before exercising, at least 8 ounces of water before out in the heat and then a gulp of water every 15 to 20 minutes during a workout will keep you hydrated. You can determine whether you’re well-hydrated by looking at the color of your urine: if it’s the color of lemonade, you’re taking in enough liquids; if it’s darker, you may be dehydrated.

Slow down: Don’t exert yourself the way you would if the weather was cooler. Listen to your body.
Wear Light, Breathable Clothing: Light-colored and lightweight fabrics that wick away sweat will keep you cooler. A lightweight brimmed hat and sunglasses will prevent headaches. Also, be sure to use waterproof sunscreen.

Exercise early or late: Take advantage of cooler times of day. Getting out before 7 a.m. or after 6 p.m. will help you get the most out of your summer workout. If possible, working out in a gym is another option to beating the heat while staying in shape.

Assess the previous day: Being dehydrated or tired before exercising in hot weather can get you into trouble. Take into consideration how much you exercised the day before, and what your diet and fluid intake was like.

Know the route and climate: Plan according to the heat index for the relative humidity that day. Work out during the least hot and humid part of the day.

Consult your doctor or pharmacist: Medication – including decongestants, antihistamines and anti-depressants – can intensify the effects of heat-related illnesses. Dehydration can be accelerated by diuretics, like caffeine and alcohol if they are consumed before a workout.

Use common sense: Listen to your body and perform familiar activities, that way you have a gauge on whether your body is reacting normally. If you start feeling sick, make your way into the air conditioning to get your body temperature down.


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