Family Living Focus: When summer begins, outdoor workouts don’t have to end

You have been loyal to your outdoor exercise program for months; walking, even when your muscles ached or biking, even when your arthritis acted up. Due to your dedication, your body is strong, your health is good, and your endurance is better than ever. Then summer approaches and the environmental thermostat begins to rise. Does that mean your beloved outdoor workout has to end when those warm months roll around? Only in your dreams, because with proper precautions, you can keep your outdoor workout routine in the summer heat.

Tips for Working

Out in the Heat:

1. Check weather reports. What you are mainly concerned about is not only the temperature, but also the humidity. High heat and humidity can cause exhaustion, heat cramps or worse. When there is a lot of moisture in the air, the body is not able to rid itself of heat as well as in a drier environment because the body can’t evaporate sweat, so watch humidity levels.

2. Notice your body’s signals. Indications that the body is straining itself during a workout include: a higher heart rate than normal, nausea, excessive sweating, or the inability to sweat and lightheadedness. Take these symptoms seriously and slow down.

3. Hydrate yourself. If you feel thirsty, your body may already be experiencing dehydration. Drink a minimum of 8 ounces of water, 20 minutes before a workout and at least 4 ounces of water every 15 minutes during activity.

4. People with heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes should be extremely careful about over-exerting themselves in high heat and humidity so consider working out in the early morning or evening and still watch the humidity.

5. Know your heat tolerance. People can adapt to their climate so heat tolerances vary. If you are accustomed to working out in a high humidity climate, you may be okay during high heat, high humidity days. But, if you are a vacationer from Arizona trying to workout in the humidity of Florida, you may find yourself in trouble.

6. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a hat to keep your face and head cool. There are specially manufactured materials in stores that you can buy to help keep moisture away from the skin.

7. Wear a specially formulated sunscreen for participating in sports. They tend to be less greasy and stay on better. Also, wear UV protecting sunglasses to guard against ultraviolet radiation.

8. If you feel especially fatigued, slow down. Even top-notch athletes know when to stop and take care of themselves. If you still feel depleted, take a cool shower.

9. If you are experiencing heat cramps, which are less severe than regular cramps, it may be a sign your body is having problems with the heat so lower the intensity.

10. Stay away from highly sweetened waters during activity because they may upset your stomach. Also, carbonated drinks during a workout may cause a dehydrating effect so consider sticking with regular water.


Information adapted from article by Jennifer B. Buckley in Today’s Caregiver.com Newsletter May 13, 2014 – Issue #713.

If you would like more information on “When Summer Begins Outside Workouts Don’t Have to End” contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.


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