Helpful Tips to Stay Cool and Safe
During the hot summer months, some of us may think that this is a good time to take a break from our exercise routines because it is “too hot” or we get in “vacation mode” but taking a break from exercise will actually hurt you in the long haul! Here are some helpful hints to stay cool and safe during your workouts this summer:
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. We cannot stress this enough. Our bodies need water to function properly, even more so when the temperature outside starts to rise. You should be drinking water before, during, and after your workout to maintain your electrolyte balance. Another thing to do to avoid dehydration is to reduce the amount of alcohol and caffeine you are consuming, especially on days you are working out.
Exercise Smarter, Not Harder. Ideal times to workout would be in the early morning or later in the evening, definitely avoiding the hours of 10:00 am to 3:00 pm as these tend to be the hottest during the day. If you do find yourself only having time to exercise during those peak hours, make sure you are decreasing the intensity or length of your workouts to avoid any heat related illnesses.
Ease Into It. This isn’t a time to rev up the old routine or start training for a marathon. Start slowly with repeated gradual exposure, gradually increasing the amount of time you are outside working out by 5 or 10 minutes per day. Acclimatization, or an increase in the body’s circulatory and cooling effect, generally occurs within 4-14 days. That’s less than 2 weeks, so take things slow. If you go too hard too soon, this will be one race you won’t win.
Appropriate Dress. Try wearing minimal amounts of clothing and make sure they are lightweight and light in color. Cotton clothes are good, but an ever better option is something that is a polyester-cotton blend that allows for wicking while you workout. Also, if you’re outside, remember to always use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15, even during those cloudy and overcast days.
Team Up. Work out with a buddy. It is safer and it could make your workouts a little more fun.
Finally, we want to briefly touch on the signs and symptoms of two heat related illness. Awareness is key!
- heavy sweating
- cold, moist skin; chills
- dizziness or fainting
- weak, raid pulse
- muscle cramps
- fast, shallow breaths
- nausea, vomiting, or both
- warm, dry/moist skin
- strong, rapid pulse
- confusion or unconsciousness
- high body temperature, usually about 103
- throbbing headache
- nausea, vomiting or both
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms during your workout, stop, take a few steps to cool down, then seek medical attention immediately. These are two very serious conditions that could have long lasting effects if not treated in a timely manner.
Be smart this summer, and your workouts won’t have to suffer. Keep these helpful hints in mind when you’re deciding whether or not it would be a good idea to workout. We’ll let you in on a little secret… it’s always a good idea to workout, just be precautious of the setting you are in and when/where your workouts will take place. Beat the heat, don’t let the heat beat you!
Stay cool, friends!
Have questions or interested in seeing a chiropractor? Give us a call at (408) 426-4936 at our Santa Clara office and we’ll be happy to help!