Summertime is here! You’ve worked hard to show off those toned arms, ripped abs and hot new swimsuit and now is your time to shine. However, just because summer is here doesn’t mean the work stops, right? Most of us are preoccupied with how we look throughout the summer months, but unfortunately not enough of us worry about how we feel. Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious and can be life threatening. Before you hit the track or the field, think about these simple tips to keep you performing your best all summer long:
1) Drink lots of fluids: You can’t go wrong with drinking plenty of water before, during and after you workout, but if you are engaging in a very intense or prolonged workout also bring along a sports drink. The ingredients in many popular sports drinks will replace electrolytes lost through sweat and help keep you energized during your workout.
2) Dress properly: The 3 L’s---light colors, light weight, and loose fitting
3) Avoid extreme heat: Try to schedule your workouts in the morning or evening to avoid the hottest times of day. No matter what time of day you exercise, if you are outdoors always remember to wear sunscreen prevent sunburn.
4) Stay indoors: If you believe you are in danger of getting ill from exercising in hot weather, STAY INDOORS! For almost every outdoor activity there is an indoor alternative, for example basketball, cycling, running and swimming.
Along with these easy to follow safety tips, the most important thing you can do during a workout is to listen to your body! If you start experiencing nausea, headache, dizziness or abnormal weakness, STOP exercising right away, hydrate yourself and seek medical attention as necessary.
Written by Amina L. Gilyard, M.Ed., CHES