We’re continuing our summer health and safety series today. Although we’re getting a bit of a break from triple-digit temps in the Treasure Valley today, they’ll be back in the 100s before we know it. You don’t want to give up your fitness routine, but sometimes the heat can force you indoors. Exercising in high temperatures can be risky. Unfortunately, this time of year is also synonymous with activities like football practice—sometimes two a day. To be sure you, and your children, are staying safe while exercising in the heat, follow these guidelines.
First and foremost, look for indoor activities whenever possible. If you’ve got a gym or other indoor facility available, use it. This is a great way to stay safe but still get in a solid workout. An ice skating session at Idaho IceWorld is a great way to beat the heat and still torch calories. Or check out one of the Treasure Valley’s indoor climbing facilities, YMCA branches, or other options.
If you must exercise outdoors, always be aware of the air quality outside, heat or no heat. With wild fires burning near the Treasure Valley lately, our air is filled with smoke and particulate matter that can make it difficult to breathe. You can learn more about air quality, and its impact on your health, by clicking on this link.
Staying hydrated is critical. When our body’s core temperature gets too high, we sweat. As our sweat evaporates, our body cools, helping to regulate temperature. You probably don’t notice it too much throughout the day if you move between warmer and colder environments. However, when we exercise, especially in high temperatures, the sweat we produce may not be enough to cool us down. At this point, it’s necessary to ingest water or a sports drink to help re-balance our electrolytes. Be sure to increase your fluid intake when the temperature gets hotter.
Don’t go full bore. If the weather’s 100 degrees, that’s not the day to break your personal record for a trail run. You can still get a sufficient workout by scaling back your effort by 10 to 25 percent. Instead of a fast-paced sprint through the Boise Foothills, try a brisk walk along the Boise River Greenbelt.
Be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness, and stop exercising immediately if you notice these warning signs. These include muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and confusion. You could be at risk for heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, if you are experiencing these conditions, so play it safe.
Avoid exercising in the heat of the day. An early morning run before the temperature climbs, or a late evening bike ride as things begin to cool off, can be a nice change of pace. Try to stay indoors when the temperature is the hottest, usually between 4 and 6 p.m. in the Treasure Valley.
Finally, keep in mind that it’s perfectly OK to take a rest day if the temperature’s too hot for strenuous exercise. This may set you back on your goals a tiny bit, but it’s worth it to stay safe.
Check out the video for more tips to help keep your athletes safe and cool during practices in high temperatures.
Talk it up:
How do you cope with exercising in hot temperatures?