We get it; you have goals
It's stuff like this that make personal trainers cringe but we understand you have goals. You want to do things like:
- Lose body fat
- Run 5k’s
- Improve aerobic endurance
- Flat out be awesome
You also have to understand there are outdoor exercise enthusiasts all over this great nation who deal with a wide range of elements. Runners in Alaska deal with snow and extreme cold. Runners, cyclists and walkers in Arizona have to deal with extreme heat. Here is St. Louis, MO, we have the glorious hot, soupy air feel that makes you think you are running inside of a steam room.
If you want to exercise or play sports in the summer, you have to follow some basic tips to ensure you don't become a victim of heat illness. Here are some of our favorites!
Acclimate to the conditions: Allow your body to adapt gradually to the heat over the course of 10-14 days. Initially, cut back the intensity and duration of your activity, and then slowly build it back up over time. Most heat illness occurs in the first 2-3 days of activity.
Drink Up: Once acclimated, increase your fluid intake because you will sweat more. Make sure you have fluids with you at all times. Thirst is not an indicator of dehydration. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
For the Long Haul: For activities lasting longer than an hour, consider consuming a sports drink that will replace the sodium and electrolytes you lose when you sweat. Water is sufficient for activities less than an hour. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These substances increase water loss.
Exercise in the Morning or Evening: Activity performed when the weather is the coolest is the smart way to go if your schedule will accommodate, but if it is necessary to exercise during the hottest part of the day, avoid direct sun and hot surfaces like asphalt.
Break it up: Increase the frequency and duration of rest breaks.
Dress for the Weather: Loose, light colored clothing is the way to go!
Finally...don't forget the sunscreen: Protect yourself from skin cancer by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30!
About the author:
Jeremy is the manager of the BJC WellAware Center. He is an ACSM Exercise Physiologist and has over 20 years in the fitness industry helping people figure out solutions and implement strategies for better health and wellness.