with Heather Hawk

Healthy Planet Fitness Writer


Beat The Heat


The steamy summer temperatures have certainly arrived. As I discussed in last month’s column, jumping in the water is a perfect way to beat the heat while still staying active. Yet many of us walkers, runners, and cyclists want to enjoy the summer weather by hitting the pavement for exercise. You certainly want to take advantage of the summer months for outdoor exercise, however when the sun turns up the heat you need to take a few extra precautions.


Stay Hydrated: The summer heat and humidity can leave you susceptible to dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Staying hydrated is the key to preventing heat related illnesses. Drink water before, during, and after exercise.


Dress Appropriately: Wearing light colored clothing helps to reflect the sun. Technical clothing can be found at any sporting goods or outdoor store for a reasonable price. This clothing helps to pull the sweat away from the body, keeping you as dry and cool as possible (since “dry and cool” are impossible in 90 degree temps!). The technical clothing also helps to prevent the irritating chaffing that occurs from excessive rubbing during exercise.


Sun Protection: The incidence of skin cancer has increased dramatically over the past 2 decades. The key step with which we are all familiar (but don’t always practice) is to wear sunscreen of SPF 25 or above. Sunscreen technology has come a long way, with all brands now offering an “active” option that continues to protect you when you work up a sweat. Some clothing lines also incorporate sun protection. The clothing has an UPF or Ultraviolet protection factor to protect your skin during outdoor activities.


In general, try to exercise in the early morning, or evening, and avoid the extreme temperatures during middle of the day. Pay attention to the air quality and avoid training outside on poor air quality days, especially if you have asthma.

If at any time you experience dizziness, nausea, headache, or rapid pulse, stop your activity immediately. Find a cool place, sit down, and replenish your fluids. If your body temperature does not decrease then call your doctor.

To enjoy summer exercise safely, be proactive to take the proper precautions, and establish smart heat habits for you and your family.


Got a fitness or health question for Heather? Email info@hawkonhealth.com.

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