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Exercising in the Summer Heat

Summer is a great time to get active with outdoor activities like hiking, jet skiing, wind surfing, cycling, and swimming. There’s something refreshing and invigorating about working out with the wind in your face and the sun on your back. But exercising in the heat can have hidden dangers, especially for diabetics who are more prone to dehydration and overheating than other people. To keep safe and enjoy the rest of your summer workouts, heed the following tips.

The number one piece of advice is to drink water. The old “eight glasses of water a day” is fine for sedentary folk but active people need at least 10 glasses of water daily. This is even more important when you work out in a hot and sunny environment. T>,A Fr;ck is to drink 16 ounces (two glasses) of cold water two hours before you intend to exercise. This will make sure you are well hydrated without having to go to the restroom too often while you work out. Keep a water bottle nearby and drink at least four ounces (one mouthful is one ounce) every fifteen minutes. Drink another eight ounces after you finish working out.

Dehydration causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It can negatively affect heart function. It makes you feel exhausted and tired long before you should be feeling that way. And you can’t produce enough sweat to cool your body. There is such a thing as too much water resulting in a condition called hyponatremia, where sodium levels drop abnormally low. However, this only usually happens to slow-paced participants in ultra long distance events like marathons and bikathons.

Sports drinks
If you exercise for more than ninety minutes, you may also need to replace electrolytes like sodium. For most people, a sports drink is the perfect choice. But for a diabetic, the six percent to eight percent carbohydrate content may not be appropriate. Askyour doctor to recommend an electrolyte replacement without the carbs.

Loose clothes
The Arabs are the experts at living in a hot environment. You don’t need to imitate them by wearing white flowing robes but do wear loose light colored clothing. Loose clothes allow the air to circulate freely so your body has an easier time cooling itself. Light colored clothes deflect the rays of the sun rather than absorb them. Keep the temperature down around your head, neck, and face by wearing a wide brimmed hat. Make sure the hat or cap is not tight fitting so you don’t trap the heat.

The temperature is a couple of degrees cooler in the shade than it is under the full glare of the sun. If you run, do it on the shady side of the street. Another smart option is to exercise outdoors before 10:00 a.m. and after 3:00 p.m. when the sun’s rays are not as strong.

Sweating is the body’s airconditioning system. But for sweat to be effective at bringing down your body temperature, it has to evaporate off your skin. If you notice that your sweat is rolling down your skin in large drops, it means that the air around you is very humid or full of moisture. The most dangerous conditions to exercise in are a hot and humid environment. Under these conditions you are losing a lot of body fluid but your inner temperature keeps climbing. Drink plenty of water to replace the lost fluid. Find a way to fan yourself to help the sweat evaporate. Lower the intensity of your workout.

Foot care
Feet can become dry and cracked from wearing sandals and slippers all day long. Wearing shoes can make feet swollen. Avoid going barefoot in hot sand. If you have impaired nerve function, you may not realize how hot the sand really is. Check your feet daily for any abrasions, cuts, and blisters.

People don’t realize that they are also sweating when they are swimming. It doesn’t seem so because your sweat is washed away by the pool or seawater. Keep a bottle of water handy near you by the poolside or make sure you drink plenty of water before and after swimming.

Just because you have slathered on SPF 45, you cannot stay out the whole day in the sun. The sunscreens available today block out the UVA and UVB light frequencies but there are still many more frequencies not accounted for. Even if you aren’t sunburned, damage is still being done to the deepest layers of your skin.

Use sunblock lotion even on overcast days because those light frequencies are still coming through the clouds. Use an adequate amount of lotion and reapply it at regular intervals during the day. Much of it comes off when you swim and dry up after with a towel. You also lose a lot when you swim in turbulent water like a water park. If you sweat profusely, choose a sweat-proof sunscreen so you don’t get the lotion in your eyes.
dehydration. The second is heat cramps. Move to a cool environment and drink cold liquids. Gently massage and stretch the afflicted muscle.

A headache can be a prelude to a more serious type of illness called heat exhaustion that is manifested by clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, profuse sweating and a lowered blood pressure. A victim of heat exhaustion needs medical attention. In the meantime, have the victim lie down in a shaded area and give him or her fluids. The most serious type of heat illness, a true medical emergency, is heat stroke. The victim will show the following signs: inability to sweat, confusion, rapid pulse rate and unconsciousness. The victim needs to be taken immediately to a hospital.

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