How to exercise safely in the sun from Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation in Union

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The agony of this past winter will seem like a distant memory soon enough, as summer kicks into full swing and temperatures start soaring past the 90° mark once again. Everyone should see this as welcomed news, since it’s exactly what New Jerseyans have been waiting for throughout the troublesome winter, but sometimes the transition makes us forget a very important fact: summer heat brings with it difficulties of its own as well.

Aside from the major challenge of simply staying cool during the hottest days of the year, one of the bigger difficulties active people face is how to keep exercising throughout the summer safely. Brutal winter weather might make outdoor exercise uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, but sweating profusely in the beating sun isn’t exactly appetizing either. Sure, there’s always the option of exercising indoors, but for many people it’s just not the same: everything seems to be more fun outside.

Battling the heat isn’t just a matter of staying comfortable, but avoiding a number of heat-related complications. Too much heat without adequate cooling can have some serious consequences and may lead to a number of issues, including heat exhaustion, heat cramps, dehydration and heat stroke. Heat-related illnesses can become even worse in high humidity that we often get in New Jersey since sweat doesn’t evaporate as easily, which can prevent the body releasing heat and cooling down as it needs to.

When you add exercise to this equation, the risks are even greater. If you don’t drink enough water, you can get dehydrated and may start feeling light-headed and nauseous, which can lead to other issues if not tended to. On the other hand, if you drink too much water without replenishing your electrolytes, you can get hyponatremia, which typically leads to confusion, nausea and muscle cramps. The key is to have a balance between water and electrolytes so your body can stay sustained after excessive sweating.

We understand that exercising outdoors in the summer is important, but so is safety. That’s why we encourage you to follow these tips for exercising in the summer sun:

  • Follow the weather forecast and be sure to check for humidity levels
  • Avoid exercising between 10 am-3 pm, which is the hottest time of the day; early morning is usually the best time of day to exercise
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and sports drinks with electrolytes not only when you’re thirsty, but throughout the day, especially when it’s hot
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and keep your body cool
  • Know the signs of heat-related issues like dehydration and hyponatremia
  • Choose shaded trails and pathways, and try exercising out of the sun
  • Slow down your running pace and/or reduce your intensity level
  • If it’s too hot, be smart and exercise indoors or take the day off

Summer is a time to enjoy being outside and to take advantage of the nice weather, but it also requires some common sense to avoid any heat-related health issues. Be sure you’re taking proper precautions when going outside to exercise, and for any injuries or pain you may be experiencing, Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation in Union, Somerville, Woodbridge and Edison, NJ can help. Call us at 908-393-9877 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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