Summer is a wonderful time of the year when we have ample opportunity to spend more time outside. Although it feels good to soak in the sun, it is important to take precautions to account for the higher temperatures and additional hours of sun exposure. Here are few tips to help you keep safe and healthy while enjoying your favorite outdoor summertime activities.
1. Drink plenty of water.
We all know how important it is to drink enough water throughout the day and many of us work hard to get the requisite 64 ounces. However, when exercising in the summer, especially when exercising outside, you need to be drinking more water to account for the higher heat and inevitable water loss from more sweat. Since our muscles are composed of about 70% water pre-hydrating before any outside activities can decrease the risk of cramps, fatigue, and heat stroke. In general, you should consume 15 to 20 ounces of water one to two hours before exercise. During exercise you should focus on sipping small amounts of water whenever you get a chance. Once you are finished with your workout, make sure to follow up with an additional 15 to 20 ounces in the hour afterwards. Then continue to drink water throughout the day.
2. Protect your skin from the sun.
Sunburns are one of the most common summer injuries. They are not only painful, but increase your risk of skin cancer. You should wear sunscreen every day, but it is especially important if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time. Find a sunscreen with a high SPF and apply it to all exposed skin at least 15 minutes before heading out. Don’t forget to wear a visor or hat to shade your face!
3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are the perfect snack pre- or post-workout. They have high water content and will help you replace all the water-soluble vitamins you sweat out. They also are a much healthier choice than sports drinks to replenish your energy levels after all your hard work.
4. Listen to your body for sings of heat stroke.
One of the most dangerous side effects of too much sun is heat stroke. If you, or anyone around you, are experiencing any of the following symptoms, call 911 and seek out help immediately as these are signs of heat stroke: shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, blurry vision, red, hot and dry skin. When being active in the summer heat, it is crucial that you pay attention to how you feel and adjust your exercise duration or intensity accordingly. It is very possible that you will tire more quickly than you do in cooler temperatures. Listen to your body and give it the rest and recovery it needs.
5. Try to avoid the heat of the day.
Do your best to fit in exercise either in the early morning or evening hours when the temperatures are cooler and the sun is less direct. If the only time you have to exercise is during your lunch break then try to stay in the shade or workout in an indoor facility.