It’s hot. It’s muggy. It’s summer in East Tennessee.
But hiding indoors all summer isn’t healthy. In fact, taking a nice, brisk walk or jog outside is good for your well-being on so many levels. Reducing stress is just one of many benefits.
However, heat exhaustion and dehydration are real worries this time of year. Your body cools itself with sweat, and when your core temperature rises beyond your body’s ability to cool, you could find yourself on the way to the hospital.
How can you get active and get calm while staying safe in this heat? Here are a few tips to help you.
1. Choose Your Time
It’s generally a bad idea to try to work out in the heat of the day. For many cultures, the time right after lunch is the time to take a break, or even a nap, in the shade. Busy Americans could learn a lot from the siesta! Take advantage of summer’s early dawn and late sunset and plan your workout in the morning or evening before it gets too hot outside.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
As you sweat, your body loses fluids and salts, so it is vital that you replenish that supply when temperatures rise. Carry a water bottle with you, or even a hydration pack like a CamelBak and sip water as you exercise. There are many commercial electrolyte replacement products, but I recommend something more natural like pickle juice or pretzels to replace salts lost through sweat.
3. Wear the Right Gear
Clothing can go a long way towards keeping your outdoor workout healthy. Look for fibers with moisture-wicking properties. Add a hat to keep the sun off your head and out of your eyes. You can even drape a cool, moist cloth around the back of your neck to help cool the whole body. Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn.
4. Keep it Shady
Choose your workout location carefully. Jogging or walking along a tree-shaded greenway will keep you going a lot longer than working out in a sun-drenched parking lot.
5. Listen to Your Body
When working out, there is a fine line between not pushing yourself and listening to your body. Be aware of your limits and be alert for signs that you’ve gone from improving your health to harming yourself. Cut yourself some slack. It’s better to err on the side of caution than make yourself sick.
Look for signs of dehydration like headache, muscle cramps, and a dry and sticky mouth. Also keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion like dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache, rapid heartbeat and pale skin.
If you suspect you or a workout partner might be dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion, do what you can to cool down immediately and seek medical help if needed.
All of us at Transformations Massage hope your summer is full of fun, safe activities, and a massage is the perfect compliment to a regular workout regimen. We offer a variety of massage options that may be right for you. You can book your first session with this convenient form or call our office. We’d love to hear from you!