Summer is finally here and opportunities for outdoor activities are endless. Think tennis, softball, baseball, basketball, or just about any sport you like. If you prefer solitary pursuits, you can take an exhilarating run or a long, relaxing walk.
But even when the weather is warm, you still have to protect yourself from the elements. Think sunburns, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and heat cramps. Heat can be more deadly than cold.1
Exercising in high temperatures or high humidity can cause heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt through sweat.2 You may be at risk if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:
A little preparation and the following safety tips can help keep you active through the summer months.
Dehydration is when your body loses too much water. Preventing dehydration is simple and takes little planning. Start by drinking eight ounces of water the night before exercising outside. Then drink 16 ounces two hours before the activity.
You may sweat twice as much during hot and humid weather. Higher humidity can make it feel even hotter, since your body cannot cool off as well by sweating. This puts you at a greater risk for heat-related risks.
Protect your face
Your face is often the first place to burn. This includes your eyes, ears, and neck, so make a special effort to protect them. Wear a lightweight hat with ventilation. That way you can cover your face and allow your head to breathe. Wear sunglasses that protect against UV rays and block glare during exercise.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 190,000 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer in 2017. There is more skin cancer than prostate, breast, lung, colon, uterine, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers combined.
Protect yourself. Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going in the sun so it can bind to the skin and prevent sunburn. Take extra steps if you plan to do water sports or if your activity will make you sweat a lot. Use a waterproof sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
Now that you know the dangers of exercising in the heat, WebMD.com offers ways to avoid those dangers so you can take advantage of the warm weather:
On some summer days, it's just too hot to exercise safely outdoors. But don't stop exercising; just change your plans. Here are some more great tips from the experts at WebMD.com:
Bottom line? Stay active - but stay cool this summer.
This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.