Many of the excuses we have during winter for not exercising do a fast fade when summer arrives. The weather and the outdoor lifestyle of these months encourage physical activity and spark the drive to get in shape. Because it’s warmer, we tend to eat less and eat healthier, too, during the summer. Many recreational sports requiring some physical conditioning come to the forefront in this season, as well. If you want to be a participant, not a spectator, it’s time to utilize the fitness equipment and get in shape.
Physical exertion always increases what physician’s call the “core body temperature.” Sweating is the physiological response to that heat increase. However, exercising in extreme heat can cause dehydration, negating the body’s ability to cool itself with perspiration. A wide range of symptoms can result including muscle cramps, nausea, headache, mental confusion and lethargy. These are warning signs that can’t be ignored on a hot summer day when you’re at risk for heat stroke, heart rhythm disturbances and even coma and death.
Here are some things to be aware of before getting out the fitness equipment this summer:
- Drink plenty of water. Start hydrating before your workout on exercise equipment and continue throughout the period of exercise and during the recovery period afterward
- Don’t try to push through pain or discomfort. Know your limits and stay within them. Stay alert to any warning signs of heat-related illnesses mentioned above. If you began to experience any, stop activity on exercise equipment immediately, find a cool spot and begin re-hydrating yourself at once.
- If you’ve had any heat-related illness or episode in the past, ask your physician if the exercise you’re considering is appropriate during summer.
- If you’re taking any medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, ask your doctor if any may aggravate heat-related problems by interfering with your body’s natural heat regulation mechanism.
- Whatever you’re doing to get in shape this summer and no matter how much fun you’re having, take regular breaks and sip a sports drink to replenish lost minerals and electrolytes.
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