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Beat the Heat

Some tips for staying safe and healthy in the heat.

 

Whether you’re a training athlete or just a health-conscious individual, summer heat and humidity can take a serious toll on your body if, like me, you want to get outside for a little exercise.  Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are only some of the very serious illnesses related to overexposure to high temperatures, and heatstroke in particular can be life-threatening. I am a runner myself, and I love going out for long runs, but even if you are exercising regularly it’s important to take precautions to avoid putting yourself at risk on these hot summer days. Inspired by last week’s 100+ degrees temperatures and own team mates’ stories about heat illness, I went looking for advice and stumbled upon an article from the Mayo Clinic with tips for staying cool. Here’s a quick synopsis:
  1. Watch your local weather forecasts for temperature updates around the time you plan to be out
  2. If you’re not used to the heat, acclimate your body by starting out with shorter work-outs and gradually building up your tolerance.
  3. Know your fitness level: If you’re new to regular exercise, make sure you take it easy at first and take lots of breaks.
  4. Drink lots of water and sports drinks (Duh!).
  5. Wear lightweight, breathable, loose fitting clothing.
  6. Opt to go out in the morning or evening to avoid the hottest mid-day sun, and try to stay in the shadiest areas.
  7. Wear sunscreen. (I never knew this, but sunburn hinders your body’s ability to cool itself.)
  8. Have an indoor emergency space to work out just in case you decide it’s too hot to go out to exercise.
  9. Know the symptoms: muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, and disorientation can all be signs of serious heat illness, so watch out!
For more information on these tips and the effects of heat on the body visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ00316
Posted: Jul 13, 2012 by Madeline Pages

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