Tips for Safe Summer Exercise
Wondering how to exercise safely during the heat of summer? Fresh air and sunshine are great, but not so fast! Heat and humidity – if not taken seriously – could be hazardous to your health. Bayhealth Athletic Trainer Taylor Hatfield provides sports medicine coverage at Milford High School and offers tips for exercising safely in summer.
Wondering how to get started? “Every person is unique so it is imperative to keep in mind your fitness level, age, and any potential pre-existing conditions when considering working out,” she said.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
It is recommended to always consult a physician prior to beginning a new exercise program. Undiagnosed pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure, can lead to additional complications if not managed properly prior to exercise.
- Do not be aggressive when starting a new workout program. Hatfield says it can take five to seven days to become acclimated to the heat and the humidity. She suggests starting with a lighter workout such as, walking, cycling or swimming; running creates more work for the body and also causes your body’s core temperature to increase.
- When possible, consult with a professional, such as an athletic trainer, personal trainer, exercise specialist, or physical therapist, to help set up a workout routine that will help to meet goals.
- Wear the proper attire to help prevent heat-related exercise injuries. Wearing loose, light-colored clothing helps deflect the sun’s heat and keeps the body cooler when exercising outside in the summer.
- Select proper shoes for your exercise. Hatfield suggests going to a shoe store to get fitted; some stores offer free computer analysis to help select the right shoe. “It’s one way to decrease injuries such as shin splints,” she said.
- To avoid dehydration through excessive sweat loss, drink plenty of fluids. “Replenish the body with water and electrolytes,” she said. “The intake of fluid should match the fluid lost through sweating and urination.”
- During the summer, try to schedule exercise early in the morning or later in the day based on the weather. Mid-day exercise, when the temperature is usually the hottest, can lead to increased risk of heat-related injuries.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
- Be safe on the street. If you wear earbuds or headphones while walking or running, be aware of possible hazards, including traffic.
- Plan a cool down as part of a summer exercise routine. “It’s important not to get overheated,” Hatfield added. Muscle cramping, profuse sweating and/ or vomiting suggest that the body’s core temperature is too high which could lead to life-threatening conditions, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
- Stretch. Hatfield recommends dynamic – or moving – stretches before exercise and static – or stationary and slow – stretches after. Finally, after summer exercise, it is imperative to fuel the body with proper nutrition, such as protein and carbohydrates, as well as replenish your body with water and electrolytes to make up for any fluid loss.
Visit Bayhealth.org/Community-Health-And-Wellness to learn more about health and fitness.