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Ambler Tennis Courts (near Wilson) will be offline starting July 19 and re-open on September 9, 2024. Wilson's basketball courts and track continue to be offline through the remainder of the Summer.

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Exercising outside in the summer time can be an enjoyable experience; however, there are important risks and considerations to think about beforehand. Enjoy this guide on how to protect yourself from the dangers of exercising outside.

RISKS OF EXERCISING IN THE HEAT

When the body is not acclimated to exercising in the heat, heat exhaustion can occur. Heat exhaustion commonly occurs as a result of poor circulatory adjustments to exercise and fluid loss. 

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness 
  • General
  • Weakness
  • Paleness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure

Recommendations:

  • Stop exercising
  • Move to a cool ventilated area
  • Lie down with feet elevated 
  • Drink fluids
  • Monitor temperature

Complete failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is extremely dangerous and those experiencing it should seek emergency services as soon as possible. 

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Hot, dry skin 
  • Bright red skin color 
  • Rapid, strong pulse 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Elevated body temperature 

Recommendations:

  • Stop exercising
  • Remove layers of clothing
  • Cool the body (water, ice, fan)
  • Drink fluids
  • Transport to the emergency room

Dehydration occurs when the body is losing an abundance of water and the body can’t replenish water reserves quick enough. Wearing too many layers, exercising in the heat, and not consuming enough liquids can lead to dehydration and can be life-threatening. Treat the same as heat exhaustion. Replenish with liquids and electrolytes.

PREPARATION 

Proper preparation is essential before exercising and can help prevent extreme risks. Hydration, nutrition, and clothing should all be planned before exercising.

Hydration

Before Exercising

Consume 5-7mL/kg (0.08-0.11oz) of water per lb of body weight

During Exercising

1:1 ratio between water lost through perspiration and water replenished.

After Exercising 

Consume 1.5L/kg (23oz) per pound of body weight

Nutrition

Before Exercising

Consume carbohydrates and protein. Recommendation is 50 grams of carbohydrates and 5-10 grams of protein 30-60 minutes before exercising.

During Exercising

Consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of exercise. Best consumed in intervals. 

After Exercising 

Refueling should occur within 30 minutes after exercising. Refuel with a high-carbohydrate and high protein meal. 1.5g/kg of carbohydrates per pound of body weight and 30-50 grams of protein. 

Clothing

Wear lightweight well-ventilated clothing. Light colors are best because they reflect the heat better than darker colors. Do not wear nonbreathable clothing such as waist trainers or other weight-loss clothing. Thin long-sleeved shirts and hats can help protect the skin from sunburns and sun-related illnesses. 

CONSIDERATIONS

Environmental Considerations

Weather

Always check the weather for inclement weather, temperature, and humidity. Always avoid exercising in hazardous weather. It is extremely dangerous to exercise in extreme cold and in extreme heat. Humidity can prevent the body from sweating appropriately which can lead to illnesses. 

Air Pollution 

Considering the time of day is important when planning when to exercise. Pollution increases throughout the day, so exercising early in the morning can help avoid high pollution rates. If possible, exercise away from inner city areas and try to find less trafficked locations. 

Altitude 

Acclimatization to exercising in increased altitudes is essential. Acclimatization is slowly introducing and adapting the body to a new stimulus. Begin acclimatization, by exercising for short durations and slowly increasing intervals over time. This will help your body get used to exercising at that altitude and help prevent altitude-related illnesses. Acclimatization typically takes around 10 days.  

Terrain/Location

Difficult terrain can lead to increased labor and cardiac output. Exercising in unshaded places can increase the chances of heat/sun-related illnesses. 

Exercise Considerations

Frequency

Moderate exercise is recommended 5 days a week, and vigorous exercise is recommended 3 days a week. Exceeding these recommendations can lead to overtraining and negative repercussions. 

Intensity

Individuals new to exercising should exercise at low to moderate intensities. If environmental conditions are poor, stay below moderate intensities. 

Duration

30-60 minutes/day of moderate exercise, or 20-60 minutes of vigorous exercise is recommended for daily exercise. If weather conditions are severe, or acclimatization is just beginning, shorten these durations. 

Work & Rest Time

The intensity of the exercise determines how long work and rest time should be. Poor environmental conditions will also affect the work/rest time ratio. Including rest times throughout the workout can help prevent negative repercussions from exercising without breaks. 

Thanks for reading these tips and tricks for exercising safely this summer. Now it's time to go have some FUN IN THE SUN!

Image Credit: Duke Recreation & Physical Education