Summer is a great time for being active. Even
if you live where it gets hot or humid, there are ways you can stay in shape
year-round. But make sure to take precautions when you are active
Be safe in the heat
If the temperature is lower than
80°F (27°C), you usually can be
active outside without taking extra precautions. It depends on how active you
already are and how used to hot weather you are.
But anytime you
exercise, it's a good idea to take these normal precautions:
Drink plenty of water. This is very important when it’s hot out
and when you do
Don't exercise as hard
when it's hot. Take rest breaks. Exercise more slowly than usual or for a
Stay in the shade when you can.
exercising during the hottest times of the day.
Watch for signs of heat exhaustion, such as
nausea, dizziness, cramps, and headache. If you notice any signs, stop your
activity right away, cool off, and drink fluids.
When the temperature gets above
80°F (27°C), consider the heat
and the humidity. Both can put you at risk for heat-related illness. The hotter
or more humid it is, the higher your risk. For example, if the humidity is 60%
Be careful when you exercise in temperatures of
80°F (27°C) to
85°F (29°C). Find shade, take
regular breaks, and drink plenty of fluids.
Experts advise being
extremely careful between about
85°F (29°C) and
Conditions are considered extremely dangerous at
temperatures over 91°F (32.8°C).
When it is more humid, you should be careful at even lower
temperatures. Higher humidity can make it feel hotter, since your body cannot
cool off as well by sweating. This puts you at a greater risk for illness. For
more information, see the website www.nws.noaa.gov and search for "heat
Older adults and children are at a higher risk for
heat-related illness and should be extra cautious. Remind children to drink
plenty of fluids before, during, and after activity.
If you are overweight, have health problems, take medicines, or use
alcohol, you may be at a higher risk for heat-related illness. You
may also have trouble if you're not used to exercising in warmer
In hot weather,
drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after activity. Water or sports
drinks are best. This helps to prevent dehydration and heat-related illness.
Water is all you need if you are exercising for less than an hour. For longer
exercise periods, sports drinks contain carbohydrate and minerals called
electrolytes that may help your endurance and keep you from getting muscle
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have stopped
sweating or have other signs of heatstroke, such as a fast heart rate, passing
out, high body temperature, feeling confused, or having no energy. Heatstroke
is very dangerous.
When it's hot or humid,
be active during the cooler times of day. Find shaded areas, like parks with
big trees, and drink plenty of fluids. You have less chance of getting too hot
if you do lighter exercise, like walking. Be sure to wear sunscreen.
Take morning or evening walks. Walking the dog or walking
with a partner helps you make it part of your routine.
for a bike ride. Find shaded areas, and ride during cooler times of
Go swimming on hot days. This is a healthy family activity for
Do light yard work or gardening. You'll burn
calories while you keep the yard looking good.
your car. This gets you outside and helps you burn calories. Give yourself a
splash to stay cool.
Go for walks at the mall. To count your steps, buy a
pedometer from a sporting goods store. You can set walking goals to help you
Use light weights or stretch bands at home. You'll
stay fit while you watch TV or listen to music. Lift cans of food if you don't
want to buy weights.
Buy or rent an exercise
DVD, or borrow one from the library. You can stay in shape while you stay cool
Go dancing or take dance lessons. Or just turn on some
music and dance in your living room. This gets you moving so you burn calories.
Do indoor housework like dusting, vacuuming, or washing
the windows. This helps you stay active while you keep your home looking good.
On trips, stay at hotels with fitness centers or swimming
pools. Make time for a workout. Take a jump rope to use in your room.
a gym or health club. You can take classes or use machines, like treadmills,
stair-climbers, or stationary bikes. Many cities have community centers that
offer affordable fitness classes. If you have health problems, ask your doctor
before you use machines or take classes.
sports programs in your community or at work. Many cities offer indoor sports
like basketball, volleyball, and soccer.
Other Works Consulted
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2010). Heat: A Major Killer. Available online: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.