Exercise can be done safely in summer heat and humidity
- Written by Ann D. Dennison, PT, DPT, OCS Ann D. Dennison, PT, DPT, OCS
- Published: 19 July 2016 19 July 2016
The key to keep yourself safe and avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke is to plan ahead. Make sure you choose the cooler parts of the day in which to exercise - either early morning or evening, or stay inside an air conditioned building. If you want or need to exercise outside, remember to dress appropriately, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.
Wearing sunscreen will protect you from the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun and should be applied liberally. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the sun too. Clothing should be moisture-wicking and non-binding. Lighter colors do not absorb as much heat as dark colors, nor are they as likely to attract ticks.
Proper hydration involves planning ahead and knowing your body. Individuals with certain medical conditions such as hypotension, diabetes and cystic fibrosis require additional fluids. You should drink water prior to your activity, during your activity and after you are finished, replenish the fluids lost through sweating . The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends you drink 16-20 ounces of water or sports beverage 4 hours before exercise and 8-12 ounces of water 10-15 minutes prior to your exercise session. During exercise lasting less than an hour, drink 3-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes, and for exercising longer than an hour, drink 3-8 ounces of a sports beverage every 15-20 minutes. The ACSM also recommends drinking no more than a quart of liquid per hour during exercise. Following your exercise session, the ACSM recommends drinking 20-24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during the exercise session. The weight loss should be replenished within 2 hours following the exercise. Should your urine remain dark and/or urinate less frequently than every 3-5 hours, you are most likely dehydrated and should continue hydration. Check out our prior blog on hydration for additional details.
We hope that this blog was informative. If you have any questions on this topic or any others in which you are interested, feel free to leave any questions, comments, or suggestions. Thank you for reading and stay active.