There is a large number of people who enjoy outdoor activities, whether its a game of outdoor basketball, baseball, walking, running gardening, or playing tennis. It is important, however, to be cautious and safe as the weather gets warmer.
Being hot for too long can cause hyperthermia which is a heat-related illness that includes heat stroke and heat exhaustion. If you happen to enjoy exercise or activities outdoors in hot weather, use these commonsense precautions to prevent any heat-related illnesses.
How Overheating Affects The Body
Exercising or activities in hot weather puts extra stress on your body and if you are not cautious then you are at risk for serious illness. Take into consideration both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity, as both can increase your core body temperature.
In order to cool itself, your body will send more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn will increase your heart rate. When the humidity is higher your body also faces added stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. In turn, it pushes your body temperature even higher.
Signs and Symptoms Of Heat-Related Illness.
If you experience any of the symptoms below you must lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. If possible, have someone stay with you who can help monitor your condition.
- Excessive sweating
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Low blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Visual problems
Safety Tips When Active In Warmer Weather
- Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a major factor in heat illness. Help your body to sweat and cool down by staying well-hydrated with water. If you are involved in a more intense activity consider a sports drink that will help replace electrolytes. Do not wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids, and avoid alcoholic beverages as they can promote more fluid loss.
- Be aware of your medical risks. There are certain medical conditions or even medications that can increase your risk of a heat-related illness. It is worth discussing precautions with your medical provider if you intend to be active in hot weather.
- Be aware of the weather conditions. If you are planning to exercise or being active in warmer conditions, take a few moments to evaluate the temperature for the duration of time you plan on being exposed to heat. Be cautious of any heat alerts and perhaps reschedule or replan activities if necessary. If it is a new activity or you are not aware of your tolerance in the heat, be sure to take breaks and be aware of any cues your body is telling you that indicates it is struggling. Schedule daily exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors.
- Dress appropriately. Choosing lightweight, loose-fitting and breathable clothing will help sweat to evaporate and keep you cooler. Avoid darker clothing colors, as they can actually absorb heat. Consider layering clothing that can be removed as you warm up and be sure to wear sunscreen as sunburn will decrease your body’s ability to cool itself and increases the risk of skin cancer.
So many heat-related illnesses are largely preventable and by choosing to take some basic precautions, your exercise routine doesn’t have to be halted when the heat is on.
It is worth taking a few minutes of your time to prepare yourself and be safe when being active in hot temperatures.