5 tips for exercising safely outdoors
The days are long, the skies are blue, and it’s consistently above 70 degrees. With such beautiful weather, you’re no doubt feeling the urge to get outdoors for your exercise routine. Working out in the elements is a great way to vary your regular workout, and whether you’re running, swimming or cycling, you’re sure to get a good sweat and your heart rate going.
But it’s also easy to overdo it and get your body into serious trouble. The effects of dehydration can lead to nausea, dizziness, cramps, and in some cases, seizures, kidney failure, and even death.
- Talk with your doctor first. “Before you tackle the great outdoors, it’s paramount to make sure your body is up to the task,” Dr. Guevara says. “The heat of a summer workout puts extra stress on your body, so have a conversation with your physician to determine how much you can handle.”
- Work out at the right time of day and wear appropriate clothing. “Avoid exercising outside in the peak hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Not only will this help your body internally, but your skin will be better protected from the sun’s peak-hour rays.”
- Stay hydrated. “I cannot stress enough how important this is. Drink plenty of water before you go out, and bring a water bottle with you. Take a mouth full every 10 or 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty,” Dr. Guevara says.
- Check the weather before you start. Heat advisory? Move the workout indoors. “Your outdoor plans can wait for safer weather, and your body will greatly benefit from your adaptability,” Dr. Guevara says.
- Listen to your body. “Most of the time, your body will tell you when you’ve overdone it, and it’s your job to listen to it. Nausea and dizziness is not a sign that you’re having a fantastic workout. It’s a warning signal that means you need to stop,” he says. “And are you feeling oddly chilled considering the weather? Chills or goose bumps are a sign that you’re in the danger zone. Stop the workout and get rehydrated.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.