You don't have to let the Florida sun get the best of you this season.
It’s Summer. It’s Florida. It’s H-O-T. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can cause serious illness and even death. When your active lifestyle brings you outdoors in this summer heat, here are some ways to enjoy it safely.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink a glass or two of water before you go out, and then sip water every 15-20 minutes throughout your activity, even if you are not feeling thirsty. When you are finished, continue to drink water.
When you sweat, your body not only loses water, but electrolytes and salt. You can replace those by alternating water intake with a sports drink like Gatorade, especially if your activity keeps you outdoors for more than an hour. There are many other electrolyte replacements on the market, from sports drinks to tablets, sports chews and supplements. Read the ingredients and choose one that is natural.
Protect your skin. Wear sunblock and choose a shaded path to walk, bike or run or for all or part of your workout.
Time of day is important when running or doing any kind of exercise outdoors. Avoid training in the daytime heat. Here in Florida, the best time of day to workout is early morning, but if you are not an early riser, stay out of the midday sun by heading out in the evening.
Dress in light-colored clothing to reflect the sunlight. Loose-fitting clothing will also keep you feeling cooler as it allows for more airflow.
Most importantly, listen to your body. Common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration include dizziness, headache, cramping, and nausea or vomiting.
Stop immediately if you are feeling any of those symptoms. Move indoors where it is cool or find a shaded area. Apply any kind of cooling method, such as a cool towel or fan. Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing and drink lots of fluid, but avoid caffeinated or sugary drinks.
Angela Fulgieri is the Wellness Experience Director at the Plant City YMCA. Contact her at [email protected].