How to exercise safely in the heat

Body temperatures can rise to dangerous levels during the summer.
In the dog days of summer, it's easy to do a workout that's great for your legs but hard on your skin, heart and lungs. Because sweat can't evaporate as quickly, body temperatures can rise to dangerous levels, local doctors say. Here's some advice:

  • Check with your doctor first. Kids, seniors and people with certain chronic health problems are at greater risk in high heat.

  • Stop at the first sign of trouble. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and dizziness. " Go early or late. Avoid peak sun hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and stay in the shade - and off blacktop surfaces - as much as possible.

  • Be safe. Don't try to do a strenuous run or other workout alone, and carry a cell phone with you.

  • Drink wisely. Two ways to know that you're getting enough water: Your urine should be clear or lightly colored, and you shouldn't lose more than a pound during a workout.

  • Dress wisely. Choose light-colored, loose-fitting clothes - cotton is a good choice. Beware of open-mesh jerseys or tank tops that expose your skin to sun. Add a brimmed hat and sunglasses.

  • Pile on the sunscreen. In addition to protecting your skin, the lotion might help lower body temps slightly. Put it on 30 minutes before heading out.

  • Cool down. Soak a bandana in cold water and tie it around your head or neck, and keep a bottle of frozen water in your fanny pack that you can pour over your head (or drink).

  • Bag it. If the temperature is above 90 degrees and/or humidity is above 75 percent, think about taking the day off, cutting your sweatfest short or moving your workout inside.

By Alison Freehling "How to" is a weekly feature on health, nutrition and fitness. To suggest a topic, call 247-4789 or send e-mail to afreehling

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