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Beat The Heat And Stay Active This Summer

July 22, 2022
3-5
 min
Thermometer raised to the sky displaying a hot temperature.

Summer is a great time for being active. But if you're not careful, you can end up suffering from a heat-related health condition such as a heat stroke, heat exhaustion or extreme dehydration, all of which can greatly derail you from your fitness goals.

Fortunately, there are ways to safely work out, even on the hottest days of the summer!

If you have heart problems or other health issues, or if you have not been active for a long time, check with your doctor before you start a new activity.

What's too hot?

When the temperature is lower than 27°C, you usually can be active outside. This depends on how active you already are and how used to hot weather you are.

Hot athletic man resting against wall.

But anytime you exercise, it's a good idea to take these normal precautions:

  • Stay in the shade when you can.
  • What for signs of heat exhaustion, such as nausea, dizziness, cramps, and headache. If you notice any signs, stop your activity right away, cool off, and drink fluids.
  • Apply sunscreen and lip balm with a minimum SPF of 30.

When the temperature gets above 27°C (80°F), consider the heat and the humidity. Both can put you at risk for heat-related illness. The hotter or more humid it is, the higher your risk.

  • Experts advise being extremely careful between about 29°C (85°F) and 33°C (91°F).
  • Conditions are considered extremely dangerous at temperatures over 33°C (91°F).

When it is more humid, you should be careful at even lower temperatures. Higher humidity can make it feel hotter, since your body cannot cool off as well by sweating. This puts you at a greater risk for illness.

It’s important to remember that older adults and children are at a higher risk for heat-related illness and should be extra cautious. Children should drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after activity.

If you are overweight, have health problems, take medicines, or use alcohol, you may be at a higher risk for heat-related illness. You may also have trouble if you're not used to exercising in warmer weather.

What to do outside on those really hot day? Why not give yourself a splash to stay cool by washing your car. This gets you outside with family and friends and helps you burn calories.

Little girl lounging in swimming pool.

Or take the family swimming to stay cool while still being active. Be sure to wear sunscreen!

Get an early start

When it's hot or humid, be active during the cooler times of day. As an example, try doing your most strenuous exercise early in the morning or later in the evening. Consider avoiding outdoor workouts at the hottest time of the day, which are usually between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

It’s also a good idea to find shaded areas, like parks with big trees, and drink plenty of fluids.

Stay hydrated

Woman drinking bottle of water outside.

Yes, water is your best friend on a hot day for staying hydrated. But, if you’re planning to exercise for more than 60 minutes, you may also want to consider sipping on a sports drink. Why?

Sports drinks are important when working out for prolonged periods of time, especially in the heat, because they contain potassium and electrolytes that can rehydrate and replenish your body. The high levels of sodium may be good for your body, and sodium is a key ingredient for a hot day.

Dress for the weather

Reduce your risk of overheating by choosing light-coloured, loose-fitting, and moisture-wicking clothing. Natural fibres like cotton can help you stay cool and comfortable. Consider clothes with built-in sun protection during the day and reflective gear if you'll be working out before sunrise or after sunset.

Considerations for older adults

Some medications can make seniors even more susceptible to the heat and at higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Other types of medications may require seniors to stay out of the sun entirely. Consult with your doctor or Pillway pharmacist if you have any specific questions.

Senior woman runner outside where headphones.

Indoors

To avoid the heat and humidity, try indoor activities like walks at the mall. Use a phone app or a pedometer to count your steps. You can set walking goals to help you stay motivated.

Here are other indoor activities to consider that will keep you cool and active:

  • Use an online exercise video or a smart phone app. You can stay in shape while you stay cool indoors.
  • Go dancing or just turn on some music and dance in your living room. This gets you moving so you burn calories.
Woman dancing and singing while vacuuming.
  • Do indoor housework like dusting, vacuuming, or washing the windows. This helps you stay active while you keep your home looking good.
  • Join a gym or health club. You can take classes or use machines, like treadmills, stair-climbers, or stationary bikes.
Senior man in cycling class.

Fortunately, there are many indoor training and exercise programs that are focused on the needs of older adults. Try yoga, Tai Chi, or working with free weights to help build muscle, improve balance, and increase flexibility.

Group of seniors practicing Tai Chi.

Whatever you do this summer to stay active, be sure to check with your personal health practitioner or Pillway Pharmacist before starting any new exercise routine.

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