People who like to be active don’t let a little sun stop them. That’s a good thing. Being active year round is the way to live, but setting limits and being cautious should also be a top first priority. Your first assignment is to learn to understand summer. You may think you know from previous years, but we really don’t always remember. I know this because each year we still have heat related deaths — nobody tracks heat related illness, but it’s there. So, every year fitness professionals and medical staff have to discuss how to exercise in the heat. I recommend you first know the answer to the question “when is the hottest time of the day.” Then remember how to handle yourself in the heat.
What time do you think is the hottest time of the day?
According to the Farmer’s Almanac the hottest time is 3 pm. I think there can be environmental issues that expand the “hot” time. For example if the sun is blazing because there are no clouds — that’s hot! In truth the summer is hot, and exercising in the summer can be very dangerous. So, don’t be a hero and take care when you are outside. The body is stressed in the hot weather. It doesn’t matter if you are running, gardening or at an amusement park. Consider running early in the morning or late at night when you don’t have the added component of the sun blazing down at you.
How do you act in the hot sun?
This is easy. Dress in light weight and light-colored clothing, and stay hydrated. Hats with wide brims are a good idea. Keep the sun off the top of your head as well as your face. If your plants wilt in the hot weather you can rest assured you are wilting too!
What’s the Big Deal?
Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat cramps can lead to serious life threatening situations. Watch for the warning signs that you are in danger. The Mayo Clinic warns us to be cautious and on alert to those around you. The signs that you are overheated are:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sweating extensively
- Dizziness or light headedness
- Low blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Visual problems
If you have any of these issues stop the activity you’re doing. Get in the shade and remove any extra clothing. Hydrate! Drink water — sipping at first, but keep the cool water coming. Fan your body, get into air conditioning if possible, cool the body with cold, wet wash cloth or towel. If you aren’t better in 30 minutes seek medical attention. This is nothing to play around with! If you have had an incident of heat related illness you are more susceptible to it happening again. Don’t be that guy that their loved ones sit at your funeral and say, “He thought he could handle the heat.”
Sun Screen is King — Make it a good brand with a high SPF factor!