Keeping Fit In The Heat

August 1, 2017

When the weather is nice, you may get the urge to exercise outside. However, before you head out for that run, make your way to the closest trail for your hike or join your friends to play a recreational sport, make sure that you are prepared to battle the heat.

Staying hydrated is key, especially if it is humid, says Dr. Domenic Casablanca, a Middlesex Hospital Family Medicine physician in East Hampton. While drinking Gatorade or Powerade is OK if you are healthy, Dr. Casablanca worries that sports drinks can interfere with sugar and electrolyte balance for those who may have chronic medical conditions or who take certain medications, such as diuretics. "Water is always best," he says. "Don't get trapped without it."

Dr. Casablanca recommends that you eat something small – preferably carbohydrates – before you workout, Don't overeat, and save the protein for after, he says. The protein will help you build back your muscle.

Sometimes, it is hard to keep the items you need with you as you participate in your exercise of choice. At minimum, Dr. Casablanca says carrying a simple source of carbohydrates and water while you workout is a good idea.

And don't forget the sunscreen!
Before you leave the house, apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your body. This will help protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation – the sun – is risky and could lead to skin cancer.

What to watch for when you are outside
As you workout, be mindful of how your body is reacting to the activity that you are doing. This is an important practice regardless of the weather. “Always listen to your body, and slow down or stop if needed,” Dr. Casablanca says.

Feeling light-headed or faint could be a sign of dehydration, a loss of sugar, or something more severe. Heat stroke, which is considered a medical emergency, can also be a problem. Heat stroke is a result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures and is often combined with dehydration. It means that the body failed to keep its temperature under control.

When to see a doctor
If you suffer from a chronic illness, it is important to consult your doctor before starting a new workout. Also, please note that recommendations regarding what to eat and drink before or during a workout may change if you have an illness, such as diabetes.

If you have signs of heat stroke or need medical attention, do not be afraid to ask for help. See your doctor or visit an emergency department as needed.

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