5 Tips for Staying Safe in the Heat
Even though summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, the warm weather here in Silver Spring, Maryland seems to already be in the spirt of the season. With summer upon us and the sunshine calling our names, now is a good time to remind our Rock Creek Sports Club members how to be safe when working out in the heat.
Five Tips for Staying Safe in the Summer Heat
1. Dress Appropriately.
Before heading out for a run, a volleyball game, or just some walking around at lunchtime, keep the following in mind when getting dressed:
- Lightweight, loose fitting, breathable material such as microfiber polyesters or cotton blend, to allow your body to sweat.
- Avoid dark colors.
- Wide-brimmed hats
2. Stay Hydrated.
Did you know dehydration is a key factor in heat illness? When you’re hot, and especially if you’re being active in warm weather, your body needs to sweat to cool down. To make sure your body is able to produce that sweat, you need to stay hydrated. Remember, there’s not always water available along running, walking and hiking trails, so consider purchasing a water belt or a palm holder to have readily available water to drink.
3. Replenish Your Electrolytes.
Like we said, when you’re hot, you sweat to cool down. What we didn’t mention is that you’re not only losing water, but also electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate and sulfate.) Sometimes water isn’t enough.
For those harder workouts you may want to turn to sports drinks such as Gatorade, PowerAde, and Cytomax. Or if you’re watching your calories, there are plenty of low calorie options and electrolyte tablets, as well. Coconut water is also a great low calorie option and it contains a lot of potassium.
4. Know Your Limitations
If don’t spend a lot of times outdoors, or if you’re trying out a new activity, make sure you allow your body time to get use to the heat. Keep the intensity level down and make sure you take frequent breaks.
If you’re felling dizzy, nauseated, more tired than normal, or at all unusual, your body is telling you it’s time to take a break, get out of the sun, and rehydrate.
5. Wear Sunscreen
It’s 2012. We know that tanning is not a good thing. Unprotected sun exposure can cause some serious damage, including aging and even cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation says when you work outside or spend a lot times outdoors look for a “stronger, water-resistant, beachwear-type sunscreen that holds together on your skin. The ‘water resistant’ and ‘very water resistant’ types are also good for hot days or while playing sports, because they’re less likely to drip into your eyes when you sweat.” (More sunscreen tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation here.)