Best Tips for Safe Exercise During the Dog Days of Summer

Swimming for summer fitness

The idea of exercising outside in the summer is often better in theory than in practice. Enjoying a hike in the woods, a vigorous swim or any outdoor sport can sometimes turn into an exercise nightmare without the proper precautions, resulting in painful sunburns, dehydration or heatstroke. Before you head outside to take part in your favorite activities, make sure you check out these tips for protecting your skin, keeping cool and getting a fun workout.

Although the weather, especially the heat, makes it difficult to spend as much time outside as you want, there are still ways to safely enjoy the great outdoors. One of the biggest health concerns for most people during summer outdoor activities is proper sun protection. Before you head out the door, make sure you are using a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15, and that you apply it generously. Also, consider wearing protective gear such as a hat, sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging UVA and UVB rays, and protective clothing. If you plan to be outdoors for an extended amount of time, or if you will be swimming, be sure to reapply your sunscreen periodically-every2 hours or less-for the best level of sun protection. Your skin will thank you in the short term (no painful sunburn to recover from) and in the long term (no lasting damage that could cause skin cancer or show up as sun damage as you age).

If you plan to be outside in the heat, try to avoid the hottest part of the day, which is usually from 10am-2pm. If you are exercising or active, take frequent breaks and pay attention to your body’s signals. Check your pulse before heading outside to exercise. If it is higher than normal, exercising outside is not a good idea. Also, be sure you are sweating! If you don’t, it could be a sign of dehydration. If you notice anything out of the ordinary while you are exercising outdoors, get to a cool indoor spot and make sure you have plenty of water on hand. When in doubt…exercise inside. Keeping your body healthy with outdoor exercise isn’t worth the risk of sun damage or heatstroke!

If you are looking for a good outdoor fitness activity to do in the heat, consider getting in the water. From water aerobics to plain old swimming to water skiing, the possibilities are endless. Plus, a new fun activity might give your workouts a boost, resulting in better overall fitness and better performance. So get outside to get fit this summer…take the right safety precautions and you’ll be glad you did!

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