Heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, occur when your body can’t cool itself properly. In extreme cases, overheating can hurt the brain and other vital organs. Sweat normally keeps us cool, but in some cases, sweat just can’t keep up with your body.
Plan for the Heat
Schedule your outdoor exercise around the coolest part of the day: early in the morning or after nightfall. Take advantage of shaded paths. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing. Choose cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics that allow air to circulate without chafing. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sports-suitable sunscreen.
We can’t say this enough: drink more water! In high heat and humid conditions, it’s easy to underestimate how much water you need to drink. The CDC directs you to drink 16-32 oz. of water each hour during heavy exercise in a hot environment. If you have a hard time keeping up with that amount, try using flavored water—add a wedge of lime to your water bottle or try a sports drink. If you aren’t on a salt-restricted diet, you can allow yourself a few more salty snacks (like pretzels and chips and salsa) to replenish the sodium lost through sweat.
Exercising outside means you are waving goodbye to the comforts of your indoor gym. For many, that’s the allure—but dressing properly is important. If you plan to break a sweat in a wooded area, put a light jacket over your favorite tank top to make sure you are fully clothed. If you’re working out in a park or on a pathway with little to no shade, make sure to wear a hat and load up on the SPF.
Be Cautious of Overheating
Exercising raises your body temperature, and when the air is hotter than your body, heat can’t dissipate into the air. To make the situation worse, heat gets trapped in dark-colored asphalt and the sun reflects off water, sand and glass, bombarding you with heat from every direction. This environment is ripe for heat-related illness, but with some good sense, you can still enjoy your time outside, without having to pay for it later.
Focus on the experience when exercising outdoors and don’t expect to set personal records. To avoid over-working yourself, wear your heart rate monitor and know your target heart rate for your age and fitness level. The American Council on Exercise even provides a heart rate calculator!
Find an Exercise Buddy or Group
Working out is always way more fun when you do it with friends. It’s also safer—and when you’re exercising outside, safety is top of mind. There are lots of local exercise groups on Facebook and some Anytime Fitness clubs offer free outdoor workouts in the month of May to kick off a summer of fitness fun. Check with your local Anytime Fitness to see where you can find a class!
6 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy This December
The last month of the year is always busy. From shopping, to school events, parties and celebrations, our to do list is typically miles long and full of things to do for others. While it may not seem like you can add one more thing, take a look at our list of important health items that focus on one very important person you may be neglecting: YOU!
Remember, if you take time to care for yourself, you just might find you’ll have even more energy to go around.
You can print this list for your refrigerator, desk at work, or just to carry with you.
1. Pick 10 days to exercise
After entering in your important events and ‘due dates’ for December, strategically place 10 workouts throughout the month.
Of course, you can always add in additional workouts if you end up having the time, but if you go ahead and mark the days you know you can fit it in, you can aim to keep the time in your schedule to stay on track with your workouts.
2. Get to the mall and shop
Yes, shopping online makes gift giving much easier! But, getting out for a little holiday shopping will not only help you ‘get in the spirit’, but it will also help add activity to your day.
Park farther from the stores, make multiple trips back to the car to unload packages, and take the stairs to make the most of your time.
3. Make grocery shopping a priority
With so much to do and so many social invitations that center around food, we tend to get out of the habit of weekly grocery shopping trips. Stick to your typical grocery store trips and make sure to make a list before you go.
Avoid the holiday treats display and stick to the outside perimeter of the store. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks and beverages to help you stay on track with your healthy eating. Be sure to have quick, healthy meals on hand for those days that cooking just seems like too much!
4. Go to the doctor
Don’t forget, your flex spending dollars will be expiring soon! December is a great month to get annual doctor’s appointments out of the way.
Schedule a physical for the middle or end of the month. You’ll be surprised how the looming appointment might make you think twice before you skip the work out or have that second glass of egg nog!
5. Stock up on water
During this busy time of year, it’s easy to get out of the habit of drinking water throughout the day. With the colder weather, extra adult beverages on the menu and less sleep than usual, water can be your secret weapon to staying healthy.
Buy bottles of water or prep and store water bottles in the fridge so they are easy to grab and go. Pre-cut your lemons or limes, or experiment with new flavored carbonated water to keep it interesting.
6. Enjoy your coffee or tea
Each week, earmark at least one morning that you’ll sit by the fire, turn the Christmas tree lights on, and just sit for 10-15 minutes and leisurely enjoy your cup of coffee. Turn on some tunes or sit quietly and just relax. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget the reason for the season if we don’t take a few minutes here and there to truly relax.
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