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Keep Your Cool While Exercising in Summer Heat

Source: Yahoo News: HealthDay, July 3, 2003

Keep Your Cool While Exercising in Summer Heat

Feeling the “burn” is a part of exercise many people enjoy. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself up when you exercise in the summer heat.

If you’re not careful, the combination of heat and exercise could turn your workout into a serious medical problem.

When you exert yourself, muscle activity leads to an increase in body temperature. Your body maintains its internal temperature by sweating. But your body’s natural ability to cool itself can be overwhelmed by the combination of intense exercise and hot weather.

That can lead to dehydration, which can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, headache, lightheadedness, confusion and lethargy. Ignoring those warning signs can lead to heat exhaustion, putting you at risk for coma, cardiac arrhythmia, even death.

The University of Massachusetts offers the following tips on how to stay safe when you exercise in the summer heat:

  • Make sure you drink enough fluids before you exercise or do any kind of physical activity. Drink eight to 10 ounces of water, 10 to 20 minutes before starting a light workout. 

  • If you’re exercising or playing a sport for an hour or more, make sure you take breaks to drink water. You should be drinking three ounces of water every 20 minutes. 

  • Don’t use salt tablets. 

  • Wear a hat or some other type of head covering that protects your head from the sun. 

  • If you start to overheat, sponge or spray water on your skin to assist your body’s cooling process. The water on your skin helps dissipate heat.