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Exercising outdoors this time of year can very tricky, especially for runners. Watching the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can save a life. Photo Contributed

Hot Weather Exercise Can Be Deadly

MADISON- Exercise and heat are not the best of friends. Although each is coexistent whenever exercise is in action as the body’s reaction is to make the body raise in temperature. What is not healthy is when the temperature rises within the body causing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Runners are faced with the dilemma of exercising while summer temps rise to dangerous levels. With Summer officially arriving on June 21, every form of outdoor exercise should be on the lookout for danger symptoms of overheating. There are many ways to ward off possible heat issues, especially with runners, as an easy pace will feel tougher in the heat. Slowing down is not your fitness. It’s your biology.

Studies have shown for every 10-degree increase a runners’ pace slows three percent. During a heated workout of any kind, especially outdoors, blood travels to the skin to help cool your body through sweat. This causes your body to lose blood volume and without the normal volume to use your heart rate is elevated and without precautions set in place could spell danger of extreme heat events.

Hydration year-round is necessary with any exercise but is more crucial in the summer heat. To stay on top of body hydration experts suggest drinking at least one-half your weight in ounces of water every day. You should also drink 4-6-ounces of water every 15-20 minutes of a run or workout.

You should also replenish electrolytes lost in sweat as it is just as important as staying hydrated. There are a few ways to maintain the proper electrolyte balance including salt tabs and electrolyte drinks. Some drinks have a high concentration of sugar and calories, so its best to check those ingredients before choosing a workout drink.

Anytime you exercise outdoors its best to wear proper clothing including avoiding dark colors and choose clothes which are made of a good wicking material that will absorb sweat and keep your body cool. Wearing a hat or visor is also recommended. By all means, don’t forget sun screen and for many people, bug spray. For those who prefer walking or running trails his time of year its best you use some sort of bug spray to avoid getting bit my mosquitoes and other insects.

Experts indicate to be smart. Try running in the cooler parts of the day. Watch out for each other. People are generally unable to notice their own heat stress-related symptoms, so it is extremely important to catch the warning signs early or avoid them all together with proper precautions.

Heat exhaustion is very common. When someone is suffering from this heat condition go to a cooler location, either in shade or indoors. Loosen clothing. Apply wet cloths or fan the person to help cool off. Help the person take small sips of water. If symptoms worsen or don’t get better, call 911.

Heat stroke is much more serious as this episode is a form of shock and is a medical emergency. First thing to do- call 911. Help the person to cooler location, if possible, and don’t leave them alone until emergency crews arrive. When possible, place cool cloths on the neck, arm pit and groin areas. If conscious, help the person take small sips of water, but be careful not to let them drink too much.

Exercising outdoors, especially running, can be a very rewarding venture for overall health, but at the same time be dangerous and deadly. Always use precautions and never underestimate the heat of Mother Nature as combined with exercise can be life changing.

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