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Summer Sizzle Safety Tips

This is more than the first Motivation Monday in July. It’s also the fourth day the heat index has the temperature feeling like the upper 90s here in New York. As the heat advisories and alerts continue for the sweltering concrete jungle, I could think of no better time to offer some important reminders about staying safe in heat.

Whether you’re going for that daily run, signing up for an outdoor bootcamp session or meeting a friend for a power walk, here are some warning signs to look out for if you or your workout buddy start feeling out of sorts in the heat:

  1. Heat cramps: These are painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs or abdominal region, that could be a signal that a more serious emergency is imminent. What to do: If you experience heat cramps, stop exercising immediately. Find some shade or move indoors where it’s cool and drink water.
  2. Heat exhaustion: This is more severe than heat cramps, and can occur when you’ve been exercising strenuously for a long period of time in extreme heat or humidity. Signs and symptoms include: Moist, pale, or cool skin; headache or dizziness; muscle cramps; heavy perspiration; nausea; weak pulse. What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen all tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels, but not to the point of shivering. Also, be sure to get some cool water into your system.
  3. Heat stroke: This is the most severe heat emergency and usually happens when signs of heat exhaustion go unchecked.  In this situation, dangerously high internal temperatures will cause your body’s vital systems to fail.  Signs and symptoms include: Altered level of consciousness; rapid, shallow breathing; little or no perspiration; weakness; rapid pulse. What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels. If you can find them, you can also put ice packs under the armpits and groin area.

Now that we’ve identified the emergencies, here are a few reminders on how to keep them from happening in the first place:

  • Mind the Time: Try to exercise outdoors before 9 am and after 6 pm.
  • Stay hydrated! Basic guidelines call for you to drink 16 oz of water two hours before exercise, but you can drink an additional eight to 16 oz  if you’re exercising in warmer weather. At this time of year, you’ll never find me leaving the house without two things: my refillable water bottle and BFit Labs electrolyte sprays. (My repeat readers will know I’ve been using the zero-calorie, zero sugar, gluten-free sprays for several years.) If you want more information or are interested in giving them a try, just click here.
  • Health Check: If you have cardiovascular or circulatory problems and are taking medication, always check with your doctor before adding any outdoor activity to your routine.

I leave you with two important tips:

  • Always call 911 in an emergency.
  • Listen to your body. It knows when something’s wrong.

Of course, I encourage everyone to enjoy plenty of outdoor fun this summer. Using some extra care can keep you safe while moving ahead with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Staying Safe in the Summer Sun

As the Mercury Rises, Be Sure to Keep the Water Handy!

As the Mercury Rises, Be Sure to Keep the Water Handy!

There’s nothing like a summer bug to throw off everything from your workout routine to a blog post. I’m finally starting to feel human again after an off week. Since we’re starting to feel some serious heat here in the concrete jungle with heat advisories in effect for the start of a new work week, I thought you’d forgive this Motivation Monday re-run of some important safety reminders.

Sometimes sunscreen, a good hat and a bottle of water aren’t enough to protect you from the effects of the sweltering sun. Here’s what you need to know if you or someone you know experience heat-related illnesses:

Heat cramps: These are painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs or abdominal region, that could be a signal that a more serious emergency is imminent.

What to do: If you experience heat cramps, stop exercising immediately. Find some shade or move indoors where it’s cool and drink water.

Heat exhaustion: This is more severe than heat cramps, and can occur when you’ve been exercising strenuously for a long period of time in extreme heat or humidity. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Moist, pale, or cool skin
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Nausea
  • Weak pulse

What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen all tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels, but not to the point of shivering. Also, be sure to get some cool water into your system.

Heat stroke: This is the most severe heat emergency and usually happens when signs of heat exhaustion go unchecked.  In this situation, dangerously high internal temperatures will cause your body’s vital systems to fail.  Signs and symptoms include:

  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Little or no perspiration
  • Weakness
  • Rapid pulse

What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels. If you can find them, you can also put ice packs under the armpits and groin area.

Now that we’ve identified the emergencies, here are a few reminders on how to keep them from happening in the first place:

  • Try to exercise outdoors before 9 am and after 6 pm.
  • Stay hydrated! Basic guidelines call for you to drink 16 oz of water two hours before exercise, but you can drink an additional eight to 16 oz  if you’re exercising in warmer weather. Personally, I simply have water with me at all times and take a sip or two whenever I rest between sets or just stop for a breather.
  • If you have cardiovascular or circulatory problems and are taking medication, always check with your doctor before adding any outdoor activity to your routine.

I leave you with two important tips:

  • Always call 911 in an emergency.
  • Listen to your body. It knows when something’s wrong.

Don’t let this post prevent you from soaking up the summer season by working out and hanging out in the great outdoors. Just remember to keep the water bottle full and use a little extra care move ahead with your summer plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

Beat the Heat

Photo by Laura DeAngelis

Toward the end of this wonderful weekend, I headed to our rooftop deck to enjoy my weekly “guilty pleasure” of reading the latest People magazine cover to cover.  Despite my SPF 30 sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses and big water bottle, I only lasted an hour. The heat was just too much, and I was just lying around reading. Which made me realize this is the perfect time for a refresher course on heat-related emergencies.

With a little help from the textbooks I used to study for my AFAA and NASM exams (Fitness: Theory & Practice, Fifth Edition and NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, Third Edition), here’s what you need to know if you or someone you’re working out with experiences any of the following:

Heat cramps: These are painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs or abdominal region, that could be a signal that a more serious emergency is imminent.

What to do: If you experience heat cramps, stop exercising, find some shade or move indoors where it’s cool and drink cool water.

Heat exhaustion: This is a step up in severity from heat cramps, and can occur when you’ve been exercising strenuously for a long period of time in extreme heat or humidity. Signs and symptoms:

  • Moist, pale, or cool skin
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Nausea
  • Weak pulse

What to do: Get out of the heat, loosen all tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels, but not to the point of shivering and drink cool water.

Heat stroke: This is the most severe heat emergency and usually happens when signs of heat exhaustion go unchecked.  In this situation, dangerously high internal body temperatures will cause your body’s vital systems to fail.  Signs and symptoms:

  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Little or no perspiration
  • Weakness
  • Rapid pulse

What to do: As with heat exhaustion, get out of the heat, loosen tight clothing and cool the body with wet towels. If you can find them, you can also put ice packs under the armpits and groin area.

A few preventive steps to remember:

  • Try to exercise outdoors before 9 am and after 6 pm.
  • Stay hydrated! Basic guidelines call for you to drink 16 oz of water two hours before exercise, but you can drink an additional eight to 16 oz  if you’re exercising in warmer weather.
  • If you are being treated for cardiovascular or circulatory problems and are any medications, always check with your doctor before adding any outdoor activity to your routine.

I leave you with these two final and important tips:

  • Do not hesitate to call 911 in an emergency.
  • Listen to your body. It knows when something’s wrong.

While it’s the perfect time to get outside and get moving, use some extra care so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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