Exercising in the Summer

We are in the heart of the summer season and I hope that all of you are enjoying this great weather outdoors with your friends and families.  Please remember that excessive exposure to heat for long periods can lead to conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat cramps due to dehydration.

For those persons that choose to exercise outside during the summer months, it is best to do so early in the morning or late in the evening when it is much cooler.  Proper hydration is essential and it is recommended to consume 8 – 10 ounces of water 20 minutes prior to exercise and continue drinking at least 6 – 8 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of physical activity.  Proper clothing must be worn and it’s best to wear loose-fitting, lightweight material such as cotton or moisture wicking clothing. Heat exhaustion is very common and symptoms include: low blood pressure, excessive sweating, elevated heart and respiratory rate, weakness and decreased muscle coordination.  Drinking water is best unless there is nausea, and then fluids will have to be replaced intravenously.  Heat cramps are common in athletes and occur in the muscles of the legs, arms or abdominals. 

Heat cramps start off as spasms and progress to painful cramps.  Proper rest and prolonged stretching accompanied by a saline solution of ¼ tsp of table salt added to 2 cups of water will be beneficial.  Heatstroke is much more serious and must be treated immediately as it is life threatening.  Some of the symptoms are disorientation, irrational behavior, hyperventilation and nausea.  Treatment includes ice-water immersion therapy.  Please note that the summer season can be best enjoyed by keeping hydrated, dressing comfortably and exercising moderately.  Swimming is a wonderful summer activity and provides many health benefits to the body including: relieving the joints of pain, toning and stretching the muscles of the body, burning calories, strengthening the heart and lungs plus reducing stress. Enjoy the season!

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