The sun is shining, and you’ve got no excuse NOT to get out and do something. But when you’re exercising outdoors, particularly when the mercury is high, you need to take certain precautions to make sure you stay safe. Here are some of the most important:
1. Choose your time wisely
The heat of the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Do your best to avoid exercising outdoors during that time. And always check the weather forecast before you head out. If the humidity is too high, take your workout indoors. The body has a harder time cooling itself in humid weather (sweat doesn't evaporate from your skin) and you can get heat exhaustion quickly.
2. Dress right
Wear lightweight, light-colored, sweat-wicking clothing and socks. If you’re walking at sunrise or sunset make sure your clothes have some sort of reflective material on them. Your shoes should also be lightweight and well ventilated. If possible, get a spare pair of shoes so you can alternate between them, and you’re always putting on a fresh pair of dry shoes. UV-blocking sunglasses are not just a fashion statement. And don’t forget to put on sweat-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.
3. Start slowly
Always start with a warm up to help your body adjust to the weather. Walk for an easy pace for at least five minutes before you start to go faster. And give your joints a rest by switching things up every once in awhile. Walking is great, but so is swimming, dancing, and biking. Cool down as well by easing out of your workout. And always end your exercise session with a set of whole-body stretches. For minor aches and pains, consider adding ENDUR-FLEX® to your daily routine. ENDUR-FLEX® is specially formulated to provide glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate – two joint health nutrients backed by a large body of clinical research – in a unique sustained-release tablet for slow and steady nutrient release. ENDUR-FLEX® promotes joint health by nourishing your body’s production of proteoglycans, large molecules that are required to maintain, rebuild, and repair cartilage tissue and lubricate joints.
4. Go with a friend
Working out with a friend gives you a built-in safety feature and acts as a motivator. You’ll be less likely to blow off your workout if someone is depending on you, and whatever you do will be more fun with a buddy. If you must walk by yourself, make sure someone knows where you’ll be and when you’ll be finished.
5. Walk toward the traffic
When you’re on foot, always walk facing the traffic, particularly if there are no sidewalks or walking pathways. If you’re on a bicycle, bike with the traffic.
6. Stay hydrated
When the weather heats up, you sweat more. Dehydration can come easily, and lead to dry mouth, light-headedness, nausea, fainting, and worse if severe dehydration hits. When exercising outside make sure you drink at least 16 to 20 ounces of fluid an hour or two before activity, then 6 to 12 ounces every 10 to 15 minutes you’re outside. When you’re done, drink at least another 16 to 24 ounces to replace the fluid you’ve lost. Water is best, and if you’re exercising more than an hour or sweating excessively, consider a balanced electrolyte replacement supplement like Replace® SR Sustained Release Electrolyte.
With just a little planning, you can get out there, have fun, AND accomplish a workout.