BEAT the HEAT Philly!

WOW!  The long dog days of summer have arrived and what you need to know is that exercising in the heat can be risky if you aren’t careful. So relax, chill out with a tall glass of iced green tea, and learn the safety basics before embarking on outdoor summer workouts.

It’s summer and baby it’s HOT out there! Maybe you are planning on a scenic bike ride around the neighborhood, taking a run up Kali Drive, or spending the day swimming in the pool. That’s reason enough to ensure that you brush up on the basics for safely exercising outdoors in the heat.  Here are five tips to keep you fit and safe during these ridiculously HOT and HUMID days:

  1. Stay hydrated. Dehydration is the biggest problem facing outdoor exercisers. The body cools itself off by sweating—if you become dehydrated, your ability to sweat and cool yourself off becomes limited. Make sure to drink, drink, drink before, during, and after your exercise bout. And don’t forget that diuretics like caffeine-containing drinks and alcohol, when consumed before exercising in the heat, can accelerate the effects of dehydration.
  2. Know your sweat rate. The goal for safe exercise is to match your liquid intake to your sweat rate. Weigh yourself before and after a typical outdoor workout. You lose about 2 1/2 cups of water per pound of body weight lost on the scale. As a rule of thumb, to maintain good hydration for summer workouts, drink about 20 ounces of water two hours before exercise, a minimum of 8 ounces of water before getting out in the heat, and then a gulp every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.  Checkout this article on Active.com about Cracking the Code on Sweat Rate!
  3. Heat and humidity will SLOW you down. Heat and humidity are the true culprits in causing heat illness when exercising outdoors. That’s because these conditions both hinder your ability to sweat, so your ability to cool yourself off is compromised. SLOWING down is the body’s way of protecting itself and should be expected on days such as today. You can even check the heat index for the relative humidity before you go. If the heat index is in the danger zone…exercise indoors!  Checkout CBS 3 for a local heat index and weather report!
  4. Dress for the elements. If you plan on exercising in the dog days of summer, then you must dress for them. Wes suggest that you protect yourself by wearing LIGHT-colored, breathable fabrics. Cover your skin with sunscreen (the kind that stays on with sweat), and don’t forget to shield your eyes from the strong UV rays with a good pair of sunglasses. A well-ventilated hat with a large visor is also helpful.
  5. Exercise early or late in the day. It is not wise to exercise during the hottest part of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest, typically between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Your best bet is to get out there early in the morning or late in the day.
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