With the weather warming up, many of us take our workouts outside, or participate in other active outdoor activities. There are many benefits to the outdoor experience, but keep in mind that there are certain potential dangers in exercising in the summer heat. Be sure to protect your skin from excessive sun exposure, and protect your body by making sure you are adequately hydrated.
Dehydration is usually the underlying cause for all heat related illnesses. In its severe form, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion which can affect the entire cardiovascular system and is considered a medical emergency. Less severe symptoms of dehydration can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, cramping and poor concentration.
To get the most out of your summer exercise activities remember to:
- Drink fluids before, during and after exercise
- Pay attention to your sweat loss during exercise to help determine how much fluid you need to replace
- Drink at least 16 ounces of water for each pound of fluid loss during exercise
- During bouts of high intensity exercise, drink about 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Monitor your urine output – clear or pale urine usually indicates you are adequately hydrated
- Replace our body’s electrolytes with sports drinks. Beware of drinks that are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.
Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!