Whatever you do, don’t use summer as an excuse to take a break from your fitness routine. Remember: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Not everyone is a fitness guru or an athlete, but making an effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle is a great start to improving your overall health. This also make summer workout safety a very timely topic. In order to stay safe, keep these tips in mind during your next summer workout:

Be smarter than the heat

You can’t just ignore the heat because you could wind up with a heat-related illness or other problems. Take into account the following pointers to maintain a safe workout regime during this extremely high-temperature summer season:

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during and after physical activity.
Exercise smarter, not harder. Work out during the cooler parts of the day; early morning or later in the evening when the sun’s radiation is minimal. Decrease exercise intensity and duration at high temperatures or relative humidity. Don’t hesitate to take your exercise inside if the heat is too much to handle outside!

Ease into summer

Allow your body to adapt partially to heat through repeated gradual daily exposures.

Dress the part

Wear clothing that facilitates cooling by evaporation. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics. Sometimes people tend to use sweat gear because they feel that by sweating more, they burn more calories. This is not true! By sweating, you tend to lose more water; thus creating your body to dehydrate. Which is not part of a smart workout…Reference tip #1.

Team up

If and when you can, exercise with a friend or family member. It’s safer, and could be more fun. Experiencing an emergency can be frightening when all alone in a remote part of the running/bike trail, or when you are feeling the effects of a heat related illness.
The following is a quick reference to the signs of danger to keep an eye out for:

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Headaches
  • Heavy Sweating
  • Cold, moist skin, chills
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting or both

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Warm, dry or moist skin
  • Strong and rapid pulse
  • Confusion and/or unconsciousness
  • High body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting or both

Remember to take steps to cool down and get immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. STAT Emergency Center provides emergency medical care 24-hours a day, 365 days a year!

Written by Dr. Adam Edwards, STAT Emergency Center physician.