So, this blog post is about taking care of yourself as you exercise in the summer.

But it’s Memphis and the Mid-South. It’s felt like summer since Memorial Day.

So apologies for this post being a few weeks late, but here goes.

Unless you have quick, easy and affordable access to a swimming pool, exercising in the summertime heat can be tough and – if you’re not careful – potentially dangerous. But here are a few simple, smart, and effective tips to help you keep cool during strenuous summer workouts.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during and after physical activity.  Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.

Exercise smarter, not harder. Work out during the cooler parts of the day, preferably when the sun’s radiation is minimal — early in the morning or early in the evening. Decrease exercise intensity and duration at high temperatures or relative humidity.  And don’t hesitate to take your exercise inside, to the gym, the mall or anyplace else where you can get in regular physical activity.

Ease in to summer. Allow your body to adapt partially to heat through repeated gradual daily exposures. “An increase in the body’s circulatory and cooling efficiency, called acclimatization, generally occurs in only four to 14 days,” Franklin said.

Dress the part. Wear minimal amounts of clothing to facilitate cooling by evaporation. “Remember, it’s not sweating that cools the body; rather, the evaporation of sweat into the atmosphere,” Franklin said. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton.

Team up.  If you can, exercise with a friend or family member. It’s safer, and could be more fun.

There they are. Easy enough, right?

Not exactly.

Even careful adherence to those tips and others like them cannot guarantee you won’t ever suffer from a heat-related injury or disease. The best to avoid heat exhaustion and other heat-related sicknesses: know the symptoms and understand how to recognize them during your workout.

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 103oF)
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting or both

If you experience any of these symptoms during a workout – or anytime – consult your family doctor or call 911.

If you’d like more information on how to safely exercise during ANY time or season, call Mediplan Diet Services today or click the Schedule an Appointment button above.