Integrative Medicine Blog
Tips for SAFE (Outdoor) Summer Exercise!
Exercising outdoors is great, but you must take the proper precautions.
There is nothing quite as great as the “great outdoors”. I say this for many reasons, but mainly because it allows all of us to be active amongst nature’s beauty: Hiking, biking, swimming, running – there are so many outside activities to choose from! And there is no better time to enjoy these activities than summer.
The summer is the perfect time to enjoy all that our area (and beyond) has to offer – but beware of that summer heat! It is important to take the necessary precautions when being active outdoors to combat the heat and it’s sometimes negative effects.
One of the biggest concerns when dealing with extreme heat and humidity is staying hydrated and maintaining your body’s balance of electrolytes and salt. When your body sweats, you are not only losing water, but these other electrolytes and even salt too. Your body’s balance is very important to keeping your body functioning properly and at it’s best. Without proper hydration, our bodies can become dehydrated and the results can range from light-headedness, nausea and if not recognized, can even result in kidney failure. So pick up those water bottles and avoid heat exhaustion, dehydration and more with these tips:
1. Time of day is important. Try to avoid exercising between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the time of day that the sun is the strongest, and the hottest! Generally, the early morning is the best time to hit those hiking trails or putting your feet to the pavement.
2. Wear loose, light-colored clothing. By wearing light-color clothing, the lighter color will help to reflect the heat. Also, wearing cotton material will help the evaporation of sweat.
3. Put on that sunscreen. Lather up! It is super important to protect your skin from sun damage even on a cloudy day. You can get burned and suffer long-term sun damage to your skin without proper protection.
4. Keep your water intake up. Before you go out, drink at least one glass of water to get your body hydrated. Make sure you take a bottle of water with you and take a big swig every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty! At the end of your workout – reach back for that water bottle and drink some more.
5. Replenish your body. That electrolyte/salt balance mentioned earlier is very important to maintain. Find a good sports drink that will help you to replenish your system.
6. Choose wisely. Choose your activity trails carefully – shaded trails or pathways that keep you our of direct sunlight are best. But just remember to bring your tick spray!
7. Listen. Most importantly listen to your body - it won't lie. Stop immediately if your feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous.
8. Last, but not least...Enjoy! Be sure to take it all in and enjoy your active time in the great outdoors.