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How To Exercise Smartly In Extreme Heat

Yes, we know that the heat wave is on! And we have been posting everything heat-related, from heatstroke prevention tips to low-calorie cooling drinks.

And fittingly, with temperatures soaring across the country, people should use caution when engaging in aerobic activity outdoors or in facilities without air conditioning, the American Council on Exercise warns.

Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, the council’s chief science officer, offered the following guidelines for avoiding heat-related injuries when working out in hot, humid conditions:


DRINK WATER



It is advised to drink a large amount of water 30 minutes before exercise and at least 6oz. every 20 minutes during a workout. Once finished with a routine, continue drinking water even after you are no longer thirsty. If exercising for more than 60 minutes, you may substitute a sports drink for water.


GET ACCLIMATIZED TO THE HEAT



It takes up to 2 weeks of combined heat exposure and exercise for your body to acclimatize to the environment. Once your body has adapted, you will sweat sooner, sweat more, and lose fewer electrolytes through sweat, resulting in a lower body core temperature, a decreased heart rate response to exercise, and lower potential for dehydration and electrolyte depletion.


SLOW DOWN THAT PACE



Lowering the intensity level of your workout will reduce the strain on your body and improve its ability to regulate temperature. Try exercising in a pool for a lesser duration.


DRESS RIGHT



Don’t wear waterproof clothes. These fabrics will prevent the evaporation of sweat from the skin and increase the risk of heat injury.


PRACTICE MODERATION WHEN TOO HOT


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Temperature and heat can significantly affect your body’s ability to respond to heat stress. Consider cutting back on exercise when the temperature rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity is above 60%.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more tips on how to prevent heat-related illnesses.

SOURCE: American Council on Exercise, news release, July 18, 2011
Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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