Exercising in the Heat – Keep it fun, keep it safe

Healthy Choices Family Nutrition Education Program

We all know that Wisconsin summers mean lots of activity and fun outside. We want to spend as much time as possible in the heat and sun while keeping up our healthy exercise routines. But we have to be careful. It is very important to enjoy the heat and not let it get in the way of your healthy activities and exercise, but we have to do it in a safe way, so as to not put ourselves and our family in danger. When we don’t protect ourselves in the sun and heat, we risk heat exhaustion and for some, even heat stroke.

Drink water – not sports drinks

Water, water, water! Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking enough water. A good tip is to start every day with a glass of water and make sure you always have water with you. Drinking water before, during and after activity or exercise is very important. Make sure to keep your kids drinking too – they tend to get wrapped up in their fun and forget to hydrate!

Don’t replace water with sports drinks. They are full of sugar and don’t measure up to the hydrating power of water!

Not all times of day are the same

Try to avoid exercising or playing hard during the hottest time of the day – midday. If you can, schedule your walks, bike rides and pick-up games during the morning or late afternoon hours when the heat packs less of a punch.

Dress for the occasion

Clothing makes a difference! If you can, avoid heavy, tight, dark-colored clothing and stick to lightweight, light colored fabrics that allow more air to run over your skin and keep you cool.

Slow down

Know the toll that heat can take on your body. Slow down and ease up on your normal routine if it’s really hot. If you normally walk 30 min, go for 20 min and take it at a little slower pace.

Know when to stop

Sometimes our bodies just can’t take the heat that day. It’s ok to say, “not today.” If you feel these symptoms – stop, hydrate, take a minute to compose yourself then find a cool, air-conditioned room to get your body back to normal:

  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Light-headedness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

Summer is a great time to be outside and to get moving. Keep these tips in mind to make sure you and your family are keeping healthy – but not putting yourselves at risk!

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