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Summer Exercise Safety: How to Beat the Heat

May 8, 2023

If you enjoy running, playing sports, hiking or other year-round outdoor activities, there’s no need to quit when the summer heat hits. There are ways you can safely exercise outside and beat the heat. Taking precautions is the key. Here’s how to exercise safely in the summer.

Exercise and Food

Don’t eat right before you head out for your run. Wait at least one hour to give the food time to digest. The digestive process takes blood and energy and produces body heat. You don’t want more heat while you’re outside. Avoid eating right after your workout as well. Hydrate first to cool your body down.

Summer Skin Protection

Your skin naturally moves warm blood away from your core to keep your vital organs cool.

If your skin is damaged, this process is interrupted. Protect any exposed skin with sunscreen. Wear lightweight clothing that blocks the sun as well. Put on a hat for shade.

Wear Protective Clothing

Wear sweat-wicking athletic clothing that allows your skin to perspire and cool down. Avoid materials like cotton that keep heat close to your body. The clothes you wear should be light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising to avoid dehydration. If you are working out for an hour or less, water is best. If you’re in for longer, consider a sports drink to replenish sodium and electrolytes. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and drinks high in sugar. They can cause you to lose fluids.

Best Times to Exercise

The best time to exercise on a hot day is in the early morning or later in the evening, when the air is cooler. Avoid exercising during the heat of the day. The midday sun can add at least 20-degrees to the actual air temperature. If you must take that noontime run, pick a shadier route.

Know Your Exercise Limits

Slow down while exercising in the heat. Don’t try to keep your normal pace and intensity. Overdoing it can put strain on your cardiovascular system. Your body has a natural cooling system that works harder in the heat. Your heart rate increases, you sweat a lot and lose fluids. Take it easy.

Monitor Your Body

If you feel any discomfort, stop exercising or slow down. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness and dizziness. Heat stroke is more serious. Symptoms include a rapid, weak pulse, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Pay attention to heat cramps too, which may be the first sign of overheating. Muscle cramps often occur in the legs or stomach.

When to Seek Help

If you have early signs of heat illness, get out of the heat or sun right away. Remove extra clothing. Drink water or a sports drink to replace lost fluids.

Call a doctor if you have signs of heat exhaustion and don’t feel better an hour after cooling down. If you experience signs of heat stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Stay Cool in Your Home

When it’s hot outside, the best place to be is in an air conditioned space. Will Air is a high-quality, residential and light commercial, heating and cooling company in Central Maryland. We specialize in HVAC systems, duct cleaning, and preventive planned maintenance. We service hundreds of residential properties in Maryland, providing them with the best equipment at the most affordable prices. Call us today at 410-549-9300 or visit us online to request a free estimate.


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