Arguably, one of the greatest things about summer is being outside. Whether that be walking, biking, running, hiking, hitting a barbecue, or just lying in the grass– soaking in the precious rays of summer sun is a top priority.
But, with heat as a leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the U.S. there are a few things you can do to stay safe.
According to the CDC, each year, heat kills more than 600 people.
A rise of just 5 degrees in body temperature can cause damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles.
- Increased Heart Rate
- Rapid Breathing
Long before heat stroke sets in, signs of heat exhaustion can be a good reminder to change what you are doing.
- Thirsty– By the time thirst sets in on a hot day you are already in desperate need of hydration. Water is great! But the sugar and salt in some sports drinks helps the body absorb the water faster when you are in need.
- Excessively hot or cold skin– This can be a good indication your body is struggling to regulate its temperature. If this happens it’s time to hydrate and and seek shelter from the heat, whether that’s in the shade or A/C if you have the ability.
- Sweating– Our bodies try to regulate heat using sweat. The water droplets evaporating from your skin acts to cool your skin therefore keeping your body temperature lower.
Exercising in the Heat
Your best bet for exercising in the excessive heat is to not do it.
But if you’re still trying to burn those calories here are a few pointers to help stay safe:
- Take it indoors– If possible, take the workout indoors.
- Avoid the heat– Workout in the early morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day.
- Protect yourself– Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses go much further than you might think.
- Slow your role– Taking it easy on a hot day might just save your life.
Remember, during a sudden onset of heat, it can take the body 10-14 days to acclimate to the warmer temperatures.
Even then, heat exhaustion is cumulative– multiple days of add up to prolonged dehydration.
I initially thought I would break down the affects of humidity on the body in this article, but it’s such an interesting topic I decided to dedicate a whole article to it later this week!
For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo