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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

It’s Summertime! Stay Safe in Your Outdoor Exercise

GettyImages-914977726Just like the Fresh Prince says, “Summer, summer, summer time….Time to sit back and unwind!’’ We’ve waited for this time for months, where there is no more snow and plenty of sunshine. Long days of outside fun, no kids in school, road trips and vacations—what more could we ask for?

But, baby it’s hot outside! Don’t let the heat cause you to lose your momentum. You can still keep working hard during the summer time; you just have to adjust a little. Keeping the following summertime fitness tips in mind will help you continue to get stronger and healthier.

Try water workouts.

Choose water workouts and aqua fitness, and make a splash as you get fit and strong. You can even improve your performance in the heat by lowering your body temperature in the pool before heading outside.

Use the shade.

It’s smart to move your workouts to a different location to avoid overexposure to the sun. If you are a runner or a biker, try a route in a wooded area.

Get proper hydration.

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. The last thing you want when exercising is for the summer heat to take over. Avoiding caffeine, which forces water out of our systems, is also a good idea. Here are some more tips for getting hydrated.

Choose your clothing carefully.

It is important now more than ever to wear clothing that will move sweat away from your body and help it evaporate quickly. White or light-colored clothing reflects the heat better than darker clothing.

Monitor your heart.

The heat places greater stress on your heart. Be sure to keep an eye on your heart rate as you work out in the heat. Take a break if it starts to spike or get too high.

Beat the heat.

Try beating the heat with an earlier workout time. UVAs are the strongest between 10am and 3pm. Make every effort to minimize your workout outdoors during those hours.

Sunscreen is a must.

Use a stronger SPF just to be safe. It’s important to protect your skin.

Stop if you’re feeling faint or sick.

If you are feeling faint or sick, stop working out immediately. Sit down in the shade, drink water, and always have a nourishing snack available.

Know the symptoms of heatstroke.

Heatstroke is a serious threat that can be fatal. Symptoms include high body temperature (104 degrees or higher); absence of sweating with hot, flushed, or red/dry skin; rapid pulse, difficulty breathing; strange behavior, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, or disorientation; and seizure.

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Hit the gym.

You may find that the best thing to do is simply to stay inside the gym to get your workouts in during the summer. It’s a great time to work on form, increase intensity with no worry of heat exposure, and plan out a new, exciting routine.

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This blog was written by Ashley Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: summer hydration water sunscreen outdoor exercise aqua fitness

Safe Workouts in the Dog Days of Summer

ThinkstockPhotos-497566061.jpgSo many people have been expectantly waiting for this hot summer weather to be able to get outside for their workouts. And I can tell you that I am also one of those people; but there are some dangers behind the dog days of summer that we all need to be aware of.

Taking your exercise outside is an awesome idea, but I wouldn’t cancel that gym membership so fast. Let’s take a look at both the dangers of the steamy outdoor workouts and ideas on how to stay cool.

Why Outdoor Exercise Can Be Dangerous in Hot Weather

When the temperatures and humidity rise, working out outside can become dangerous, and it can happen very quickly without anyone even realizing it. The hotter and more humid it becomes, the more you sweat, and the sweat cannot evaporate as quickly as it should. Because of this, your internal body temperature rises and can become deadly.

Some warning signs and symptoms of reaching that dangerous and potentially deadly state are weakness, dizziness, muscle cramps, confusion, headache, increased heart rate, and vomiting.

How to Keep Cool for Summer Workouts

But there are some ways that we can help ourselves during the dog days of summer if you do choose to work out outside. Take a close look at this list and consider taking these steps:

  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Drink as much water as possible for proper hydration.
  • Wear sunscreen. Lather up with sunscreen to protect your skin.
  • Wear sunglasses. This important piece of equipment protects your eyes and conserves energy.
  • Get the proper clothing. You want to wear light and loose, moisture-wicking clothing.
  • Consume the proper nutrition. Eat a well-balanced diet, and make sure to eat something small before you head out for a long run or Bootcamp class.
  • Check the air quality. This is important because it affects how you breathe. The higher the level of AQ, the harder it will be to breathe; the lower, the better. According to EPA standards, if the air quality number is over 100, it’s not good. If it’s below 100, it’s considered satisfactory air level.
  • Stay out of the sun. Look for shade to work out in.
  • Monitor your heart rate. If it gets too high, take a break.
  • Listen to your body. If your body is telling you stop or it’s too hot, listen to it!
  • Stay inside if it’s above 90. It’s better to hit the gym than to put yourself in danger.
  • Bring water to your workout. Try to keep hydrating yourself as you work out; don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  • Cool towels help. Take a cool, damp towel and put it over your head or around your neck.
  • Wear a loose-fitting hat. Wearing a tight hat holds the heat to your head, so in order to protect yourself from the sun, wear a loose-fitting hat that allows your head to breathe.

If you do decide to work out outside in the dog days of summer, do the best you can to take the proper precautions and protect yourself from harm. Listen to your body and be sure not to over-do it!

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: fitness center equipment injury prevention summer hydration sunscreen