Fitness Facts: How to beat the extreme heat
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
It’s even hotter than it was last month when this subject was addressed here, so it’s appropriate to offer some reminders about ways to avoid heat-related illnesses. Prevention is key!
Tips from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing that is loose fitting.
- Stay in air-conditioning as much as possible.
- Limit outdoor activities to when it is coolest, such as early morning or evening. If exertion makes your heart pound in the heat, STOP, get to a shady area and rest.
- Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic). Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink.
- Avoid hot and heavy meals.
- If you are going to be in the heat, do not drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. These cause you to lose more body fluid.
- If you are planning an outdoor event, hydrate the day before and during the event.
- Check the news for extreme heat days and plan indoor activities.
- Avoid very cold drinks; they might cause stomach cramps.
- NEVER leave anyone in a vehicle.
- If you need to be in the heat or exercise outside, limit your amount of outside activity and drink 2-4 glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat, but remember to limit the ones with a large amount of sugar.
- Always take a buddy if you are hiking, working out or are going to be in the heat for long periods of time. Check in with each other throughout the event.
- Rest in shady areas.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (make sure you purchase one that protects against UVA/UVB rays).
If you start to experience symptoms while you are in the heat, such as dizziness, headache, muscle spasms or confusion, you might be experiencing a heat-related illness.
For more information and specific treatment, see what the CDC has to say: