Stay Safe during Hot Weather
As the summer months become hotter, it is important to be aware that exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. During hot exercise, it is important to watch for symptoms that can be a sign of heat related illness. These symptoms include muscle cramps, nausea, fatigue, headache, dizziness, increased heart rate, and visual problems. If you experience any of these symptoms be sure to cool off by drinking fluids, applying cold compresses to the neck or forehead, or taking a cold shower. If these symptoms last longer than 30 minutes, be sure to contact your doctor.
The following are important steps that should be taken when performing physical activity in hot weather:
- Watch the temperature for heat alerts.
- Ease into exercising in the heat. As your body adjusts to the heat, you can increase your level of activity.
- Know your fitness level. Your body may not be able to perform as long in the heat so take frequent breaks.
- Drink plenty of fluids such as water or (low-sugar) sports drinks.
- Dress appropriately in lightweight clothing.
- Avoid midday sun and try to exercise in shaded areas.
- Wear sunscreen (even if you have dark skin).
- Have a backup plan if the temperature or humidity is too high.
- Understand your medical risks. Certain pre-existing conditions can increase your risk of heart-related illness.