It’s summertime and everyone wants to enjoy nature more. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that the rate of exercise increases during this time of year. Whether one wants to shed 10 pounds to look better in their bathing suit or feel good about themselves, the summertime creates an atmosphere for more fitness focused behavior. Studies show that fewer people delay exercise in the summer than in the winter. Men and women alike spend more time outside playing sports, walking and running, and taking part in group activities. Though it may seem that the atmosphere is safer, there are precautions that need to be taken to prevent the onset of a heat-related illness.
The Heat Effect
Exercising alone puts stress on the body. As you work out, your body increases the amount of blood circulating through your skin to help you cool down. This causes an increase in heart rate and body temperature, as well as a decrease in the amount of blood in your muscles. Therefore, if you are exercising outside, you increase the amount of stress your body is exposed to. The body’s natural ability to cool itself down is limited in a high heat and humidity atmosphere.
Avoid Heat Related Illness
The best way to avoid heat-related illnesses is to know the signs. If you are partaking in hot-weather exercise and you start to notice any of the following symptoms, it is important to lower your body temperature and get hydrated as soon as possible: headache, muscle cramps, fatigue, confusion, visual problems, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, dizziness, lightheadedness, or nausea. If these symptoms are not acknowledged they can lead to more serious events such as heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and heat syncope (fainting).
One precaution is to understand your fitness level. Part taking in an outdoor fitness boot camp is not ideal to someone who isn’t conditioned enough to walk 30 minutes on a treadmill. Staying hydrated gives your body the fuel it needs to manage its natural response to heat more effectively. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunblock or thin long-sleeved shirts or pants. Last and most important, know your current medical risk. Summertime outdoor exercise can be fun for many reasons. Embrace it and enjoy it as summer comes around only once per year. However, do it sensibly and protect your health during the process.
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