5. Perfect your timing. Sun, humidity and pollution levels are most intense during the day, so you're at greater risk for dehydration, sunburn and heat exhaustion during this time. To minimize the effects of the weather, work out in the early morning (before 10 a.m.) or late evening (after 7 p.m.).
6. Check air quality. Before you head outside, get current reports online or on your local radio station. Lower your exertion (intensity) level during physical activity on days with extreme heat and high smog. This dangerous weather warrants easy walking, relaxed cycling or light gardening instead of vigorous exercise.
7. Acclimate to the heat. Even the fittest people can have trouble exercising when it's hot and humid. Start by exercising in the heat for only a few minutes each day and gradually increase the amount of time you can tolerate outdoors.
8. Seek shade. Parks, trails and other tree-lined areas can help you stay cooler than direct sunlight.
9. Monitor your heart rate. If your intensity level rises above your target range, slow down or stop to avoid further stress.
10. Listen to your body. If you notice any symptoms of heat illness (see "Danger Signs to Watch For" above), stop your workout. It's not a good idea to "push yourself" in extreme heat. If you feel bad, use common sense and discontinue your workout.
11. Know when to stay inside. If temperatures climb above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, take your exercise in an air-conditioned environment, such as the gym or shopping mall.
12. Avoid extreme temperate changes. Don’t go from blistering outdoor heat to a shockingly cold air-conditioned building. Try to cool yourself down gradually before exposing your body to cooler temperatures.
13. Take a dip. Water exercise is a great alternative in hot weather. Water keeps your body cool and reduces how difficult you perceive your workout to be. Be sure to drink plenty of water even while swimming to ensure that you are properly hydrated.
Hot weather isn't the time to take risks. Even healthy people should take it easy in extremely high temperatures and everyone should understand how to exercise safely and effectively at the height of the season. Summer brings many fun and exhilarating opportunities to get outside, so enjoy yourself!
This article has been reviewed and approvied by Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer and Nicole Nichols, Certified Fitness Instructor.
Article created on: 8/14/2007
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