Summer is officially here, and it brings long days, lots of sunshine, and rising temperatures. So many people choose to head outdoors for their physical activity, but it’s crucial to take the proper precautions to stay safe and healthy. While the temperature can feel limiting, there are several exercise tips and strategies you can utilize to make working out outside fun while keeping your body cool. Whether running, playing basketball, or going for a walk, you can follow these tips for injury prevention.
Exercise Tips for the Summer
Exercising in the heat differs extensively from working out in cooler temperatures. As the sun beats down and temperatures soar, do not forget to be mindful of your body and recognize the dangers of excessive heat and heat exhaustion. Below we have compiled a few tips for your summer workouts to avoid injuries and heat-related illnesses.
In the summer, our bodies require more fluids to keep us moving throughout the day. Never wait until you are too thirsty; to keep yourself hydrated, experts suggest drinking at least 20 ounces of water two hours before your workout and another eight immediately after. Additionally, carrying a water bottle during your workout can ensure you stay hydrated. While drinking water is the best option for hydration, healthy drinks like coconut water can help replenish your electrolytes. Dehydration has many symptoms, including:
- Intense thirst
Protect Your Skin
Be mindful of how long you spend in the sun and always use sunscreen. Apply SPF 30 or higher at least 20 minutes before your workout and reapply every two hours as needed. Remember to protect your eyes with sunglasses.
Avoid Intense Heat
If the outside temperature is above 80 degrees and the humidity is above 80%, you might want to hold off on your outdoor activities. Instead, plan an early morning or late evening workout. Your body’s natural reaction to heat is sweating, but when temperatures are this high, you can become dehydrated and overheated.
Listen to Your Body
There are several signs your body will display when it needs a break, including:
- Heat Cramps – These pangs are your body’s first warning signs telling you to rest. Take a break in the shade, rehydrate, and avoid extensive exercise for a few hours as you recover.
- Heat Exhaustion – Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, fainting, cold or clammy skin, lower blood pressure, chills, heavy sweating, and fast breathing. If you are experiencing this, stop exercising and find a shaded area to rehydrate and recover.
- Heat Stroke – Symptoms of heat stroke include a body temperature over 104 degrees, disorientation or confusion, rapid breathing, flushed skin, hallucinations, and the absence of sweat. If you think you are having a heat stroke, stop what you are doing and seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Dress for the Weather
When choosing your summertime workout gear, keep it lightweight, loose-fitting, and moisture-wicking. Clothing with natural fibers, like cotton or linen, can help keep you cool and reduce your body’s temperature. Avoid unnecessary layers, thick fabrics, like polyester, and dark-colored clothing.
Summer Safety Tips by Excel Physical Therapy
Beat the heat and prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries when you follow these summer safety tips! If you find yourself struggling with impairments, limitations, or restrictions related to musculoskeletal conditions, request an appointment at one of our convenient locations today.