Nothing beats the outdoors, but when the weather starts heating up, so do a host of health hazards that can quickly turn a day at the park or outdoor workout into a disaster. Use these tips to stay healthy and enjoy all that summer in Scottsdale has to offer.
1. Wear Sunscreen
Sunlight (in small doses) can be beneficial to your health because of the vitamin D, but tanning and sunburns can create both acute and long-term health problems. Mild sunburns can cause slight pain and redness, while more severe sunburns can cause blistering, rashes and serious pain. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just one severe sunburn can more than double the chances of developing melanoma and cause skin to prematurely age.
The sun is strongest between 10am and 4pm so be sure to avoid much contact during these prime times. To avoid sunburns, be sure to always wear at least SPF 15 sunscreen prior to exposure to the sun.
2. Drink Up
Exercising in the Arizona desert climate increases core body temperature and causes higher rates of perspiration. Because of this, it is very easy to become quickly dehydrated, which can result in heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.
Whether you use a shaker cup, jug, or camelback, be sure to always pack and keep water with you at all times when you will be outdoors for any length of time. Most individuals tend to lose 2-3% of water during exercise in hot conditions, so it is imperative that while exercising, you drink 8-10 ounces of water every 20-30 minutes during exercise.
3. Exercise in the Proper Attire
Be sure to wear loose and airy clothing while exercising during the summer months. It is important that your body gets proper ventilation so that you can allow for your core body temperature to cool at optimal rates. Wearing tight, form-fitting clothing will act as a blanket on your body and will cause you to heat up.
Additionally, be sure to wear light colored clothing while exercising in the sun as darker colors will absorb heat and can rapidly cause heat exhaustion.
4. Restore Electrolytes
Excessive sweating during exercise will create electrolyte imbalances due to the loss of sodium in our perspiration. This can cause heat cramps or muscle cramps induced by electrolyte imbalances.
The salt loss will decrease the amount oxygenated blood to peripheral muscles and lead to cramps typically in the torso, hamstrings, quadriceps and hamstrings. Be sure to rehydrate with a beverage that contains electrolytes, but be wary of the amount of calories in some of these beverages.
5. Know When to Quit
Its 110 degree outside, you’re dripping in sweat, and your feet feel like they’re ten pound cinder blocks. You may have the desire to push through these feelings because you’re nowhere near your normal mileage or not even halfway through your workout, but you need to listen to your body and head home.
Once your core temperature starts to elevate over 100 then your internal systems will not be able to effectively cool you down. This will lead to a handful of problems including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Head back inside, place a cool towel or ice pack around your neck and shoulders and rehydrate. Once you cool down, you can finish a workout inside with a cardio circuit or head to the gym. Be smart, allow your body to acclimate to the heat progressively. You should taper the intensity of your workouts accordingly to the heat and always listen to your body.