When you’re working out in the heat take the following precautions, use common sense and know the signs of a heat-related emergency.

Exercise In the Morning or Evening

This is one of the benefits of exercise in the morning: the temperature is cooler. Get used to exercising in warmer weather by slowly increasing the time or intensity of your workouts. Even experienced athletes are susceptible to problems when the weather gets warmer. Your heart has to work harder in the heat, so don’t risk overdoing it — listen to your body.

Wear Light-Colored, Loose Fitting Technical Fabrics

Technical fabrics dry quickly and are made of breathable, synthetic fibers that wick sweat away from your skin. Light-colored clothing reflects the sun and does not hold the heat like darker fabrics. One more of the great benefits of exercise in the morning is that, when you’re finished with your workout and washing your workout clothes, the midday sun will be up and ready to dry them out. Good to go!

Use Sunscreen and Reapply It Often

In addition to a hat, find a sunscreen that works for you and wear it! Reapply sunscreen — even if it’s waterproof — and definitely spread on more sunscreen when you sweat.

Learn the Warning Signs of Heat Illness

Heat related illnesses are serious, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Especially in areas of extreme heat and humidity, your body may be unable to cool itself and your body heat rises.

Muscle cramps and fatigue are early warning signs that you need to stop exercising and cool down. You can quickly progress to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you don’t find that the temperature is conducive to a solid workout, consider the cool and invigorating benefits of exercise in the morning.

Signs of Heat Related Emergencies
Heat exhaustion is the stage of heat illness leading up to a heat stroke. Heat stroke is a serious heat illness that requires professional medical attention.
Symptoms can include:nu2022 Heavy sweatingnu2022 Extreme weakness or fatiguenu2022 Dizzinessnu2022 Clammy, moist skinnu2022 Muscle crampsnu2022 Pale complexionnu2022 Slightly elevation body temperaturenu2022 Fast and shallow breathingnCall your local emergency number if you notice warning signs of heatstroke:nu2022 A high body temperature nu2022 Confusion or strange behaviornu2022 Rapid and/or weak pulsenu2022 The body stops sweating nu2022 Dry and/or hot skinnu2022 Seizures nu2022 Loss of consciousness n

Stay Hydrated

Drink before you get thirsty. You place your performance and your health at risk when you are dehydrated. Signs that you are dehydrated include fatigue and dark colored urine. If you are outside for more than an hour or if you sweat a lot, you need to balance out both water and salt lost in sweat.

American College of Sports Medicine Recommendations on Hydration
Before Your Workoutnu2022 Drink 16-20 fluid ounces of water or sports beverage at least four hours in advance nu2022 Drink 8-12 fluid ounces of water 10-15 minutes before exercise nu2022 Consuming a beverage with sodium (salt) and/or small meal also helps to stimulate thirst and retain fluidsn
During Your Workoutnu2022 Drink 3-8 fluid ounces of water every 15-20 minutes when exercising for less than 1 hour nu2022 Drink 3-8 fluid ounces of a sports beverage (5-8 percent carbohydrate with electrolytes) every 15-20 minutes when exercising for more than 1 hour nu2022 Do not drink more than one quart/hour during exercise
After Your WorkoutnThe goal is to correct your fluid losses within two hours after exercisenu2022 Drink 20-24 fluid ounces of water or sports beverage for every pound (of water) lost
Reprinted with permission of the American College of Sports Medicine. Copyright u00a9 2011 American College of Sports Medicine

[1] National Institutes of Health, “Heat Illness,” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, (accessed 16 January 2014)
[2] American College of Sports Medicine, “Position Stand: Exertional Heat Illness During Training and Competition,” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, (2007), 556-572

Prepared by Wendy Moltrup, MS, CHES | Last updated: January 31, 2014

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