Staying Active and Healthy in the
Exercising outdoors is part of the joy
of summer, but as temperatures and humidity soar, smart exercisers
are careful to take precautions so the heat doesn't get the best
of them or their workout.
Picking your time to exercise is
crucial, said Richard Cotton, a spokesman for the American Council
on Exercise, in San Diego.
"When it's very hot and very humid,
it's best to exercise in the cooler times of the day, morning
or evening, or not at all," added Cotton, chief exercise physiologist
with MyExercisePlan.com, a customized Web-based program.
Skipping a day now and then might
be wiser than falling victim to heat illnesses, which can occur
when the body's cooling mechanism becomes overloaded. The risk
for heat illness rises with the temperature and humidity.
Heat exhaustion, the milder form
of heat-related illness, is marked by flushed or pale skin, muscle
cramps, heavy perspiring, nausea with or without vomiting, and
Heat stroke, a more serious problem,
is life-threatening and occurs when the body cannot regulate its
temperature. Heat stroke onset can occur within 10 or 15 minutes
of first symptoms, which include a very high body temperature
-- over 103 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot or dry red skin, absence
of sweating, nausea, dizziness and disorientation. Loss of consciousness
To treat heat exhaustion, the federal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends resting
and taking a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. Your physician
may also recommend drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages.
Heat stroke requires immediate
medical assistance and immediate cooling of the victim. The CDC
recommends getting the affected person to a shady area and cooling
them however you can until help arrives. This might include immersing
the person in a tub of cool water or placing them in a cool shower.
Monitor body temperature and keep up the cooling process until
body temperature drops to 101 or 102 degrees F.
Muscle spasms may set in during
heat stroke. If this happens, the CDC advises that individuals
aiding a heat-stroke victim find ways to keep them from injuring
themselves. However, caregivers should not place objects in the
victim's mouth or provide them with fluids at this point.
Staying hydrated can help you stay
healthy in the heat and minimize the changes of heat exhaustion
or heat stroke. Physical activity in hot weather triggers a surprisingly
high level of fluid loss via sweating, said Fabio Comana, a certified
personal trainer and the certification and exam development manager
at the American Council on Exercise.
"The human body can sweat off,
if someone is in good shape, up to 3 liters an hour," Comana said.
For someone not in top shape, the loss can still be up to 2 liters
an hour, he said.
Drink water before and during workouts,
Comana and Cotton suggest. About 20 minutes to an hour before
exercise, drink at least 8 ounces or even 16 ounces. During exercise,
drink every 15 minutes or so, 6 to 8 ounces, suggests the American
Council on Exercise.
Wear suitable workout wear, Comana
and Cotton suggest. "Wear light colors to reflect heat," Cotton
said. "It's best to shade your head as comfortably as possible."
And the new wicking material for
shorts and shirts do make a difference, Cotton said. If you find
yourself overheating and don't have wicking material workout wear
on, Comana said just wetting a cotton shirt will help you cool
off. "It will lose about 90 percent of its insulation properties,"
he said. "It's an effective way to get rid of the heat."
To learn more about exercise in the heat, visit the American
Council on Exercise.
Reference Source 101
August 23, 2004