We love that Arkansas is sunny and bright; but we know that sometimes, bright sunshine means temperatures soaring above one hundred. While we definitely encourage outdoor exercise here at Baptist Health, we want everyone to be aware and educated about safe habits when you’re outside in the heat.
Here’s why we care: exercising in heat puts extra stress on your body and increases your core temperature. If you do not take the appropriate precautions, consistently exercising in heat can cause serious illnesses like heat exhaustion, heat cramps, exercise-associated collapses, or heat stroke.
Here is what you can do to be prepared:
1. Pay attention to the weather before you go out to exercise
This tip may seem obvious, but check the weather before you plan to exercise outside. If the temperatures are particularly high or humid or if there is a heat alert issued, have a backup plan to exercise indoors for the day.
2. Stay hydrated
Dehydration is one of the biggest factors in heat related illnesses, so we can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated if you’re exercising in the heat. If you plan to exercise vigorously, plan to have extra water with you. Hydration will help you sweat and cool your body down.
3. Dress for the weather
When you’re exercising in the heat, it’s important to dress in light, loose fitting clothes that absorb sweat more easily. It also helps to wear light colors.
4. Avoid midday exercising outdoors
Plan your workouts early in the morning or in the evening when the midday sun isn’t at its’ highest point. Exercising when it’s cooler will help you avoid heat related illnesses.
5. Wear sunscreen
Sunburns are linked to skin cancer and an inability for the body to cool itself, so wearing sunscreen is integral to avoid sunburns.
These are a few tips that can drastically improve the quality of your outdoor workouts in the Arkansas heat!