Mind the Heat: Exercising Outside

Mind the Heat: Exercising Outside


Summer is approaching and so are the dog days. Temperatures are already soaring over 80 and it can be a challenge not to overheat when exercising or playing outdoors. But don’t let that stop you, just make sure to take precautions – whether you’re biking, hiking, walking or sporting it, it’s important to follow a few safety tips.


Naturally our bodies run warmer than the environment but when that begins to change our “muscles regulate heat by releasing sweat, which allows the body to cool itself.”1 We have to stay hydrated to offset the fluid loss resulting from sweating. It’s when we become dehydrated that the problems start. “If the body can no longer cool itself,” says Argyle, Texas, exercise physiologist Jaime Roberts, “it starts storing heat inside. The core temperature begins to rise and you put your internal organs and central nervous system at risk.”


Watch for the signs of heat exhaustion which include:


General fatigue




Muscle cramps

Increase in body temperature


Signs of heat stroke are much more serious and can lead to death:


Temperature above 104

Inability to sweat

Acute respiratory distress

Loss of consciousness


According to an article on WebMD, there are nine ways to keep your summer workouts safe:


  1. Acclimate Yourself
  2. Stay Hydrated
  3. Slow Down
  4. Wear Light Breathable Clothing
  5. Exercise Early or Late
  6. Assess the Previous Day
  7. Know the Route and Climate
  8. Consult your Doctor or Pharmacist
  9. Use Common Sense


For a more detailed description of each tip, you can read the article here. And surprisingly something that wasn’t mentioned, WEAR SUNSCREEN. Even on cloudy days you can get burned and suffer sun damage to your skin. If you’re exercising for a particularly long amount of time, it’s a good idea to replenish your electrolyte and salt intake as well.2


So now that you’re armed with some good tips, don’t be afraid to battle the heat, just be smart about it. Colorado is full of great outdoor adventure and there’s no time like the present to go tackle it!




1 http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercising-in-the-heat

2 http://www.active.com/running/articles/8-tips-for-exercising-in-summer-heat


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