Summer Heat and Exercise

We have had a wonderful spring in Florida. However, the Florida heat is right around the corner. Instead of letting the oppressive heat take you out of your exercise regime, embrace the challenge of the heat and (1) be prepared and (2) experiment with new activities.

Florida summers are extremely hot and humid. It is important to say hydrated. For proper functioning, your body maintains a delicate balance of water, electrolytes and salt. When you sweat, you lose all three of these elements. While exercising, if you do not drink enough water, you can get dehydrated and suffer symptoms of light-headedness and nausea. If you do not drink plenty of water, these symptoms can worsen and cause kidney failure or even death, in extreme cases. Just drinking water during exercise in high heat is not enough. Drinking too much water can lead to hyponatremia, where your system does not have enough salt and electrolytes. Balance is the key. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Avoid exercising during the heat of the day, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Wear loose, light colored clothing
  • Always wear sunscreen
  • Replenish electrolytes and salt during exercise with a supplement of your choice
  • Find shade to exercise in or at least to use for breaks between exercising
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water before you exercise, during exercise every 15 minutes and then after exercise
  • Always check the weather forecast for heat advisories
  • Most importantly, always listen to your body. Stop exercising immediately if you do not feel well, feel dizzy or feel nauseous.

Summertime offers a multitude of sports and activities to do. Look for options that either take you out of the summer heat or provide a cooler environment. Water activities are perfect for the summer, such as swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water skiing. In addition, there are many indoor activities that are fun and provide a good workout. Try rock climbing at your local rock climbing gym. Go roller-skating at an indoor skating rink. Sign up for archery lessons. Join a summer bowling league. Find a trampoline park and play dodge ball. There are so many opportunities to vary your exercise routine, help you avoid the summer heat and inject some fun into your summer.

Enjoy and Have a Wonderful Summer!

{Helpful hints from John Decker at Active.com.}

Erica Johnson serves as chair for Alachua County Girls On The Run.  She is a 1992 graduate of the University of Florida College of Law and a 30-year resident of Gainesville.  She has a great husband and two wonderful children, a dog, and is currently employed at Infotech. Fun fact: Erica can touch her thumb to her wrist!