Guest written by Nevada Health Link
Summer can be one of the best seasons in Nevada for staying in shape; many are eager to spend time outdoors at local parks, lakes, or trails.
But while the summers here are severely hot and dry, the State of Nevada recently distributed a new central resource for Nevadans who are facing extreme heat this summer.
It’s still possible to enjoy outside activities and sports, especially when heat safety precautions are taken seriously. Nevada Health Link has these 4 tips to help you safely take your workout outside this summer.
If you’re exercising in the heat, medical experts say a good rule of thumb is to drink cold water, about eight ounces, every 20 minutes. Keep in mind some medications may intensify the effects of heat exhaustion.
Hydration does not mean consuming coffee, alcohol, or sugary drinks before a workout; these can accelerate the effects of dehydration.
Luckily for us in Nevada, exercising in dry weather has some advantages as you’re able to evaporate sweat; this allows the body to cool down faster. But if you feel nausea, headache, dizziness or cramping during a hot workout, slow down or stop and hunt for shade. These could be signs of heat illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But if you start having muscle cramps, feeling clammy or confused, seek medical attention.
Wet clothes are your best friend
Those 65 and over have the highest risk of illness from hot weather; the CDC found that 36 percent of heat-related deaths in the U.S. were in that age group.
Slapping a cold, wet cloth on your neck, will make a significant difference. You can also slip ice packs into athletic undergarments for coolness.
If you’re craving ice pops for its flavor and cool down, go for it — but keep in mind the sugars can also put you at risk for dehydration.
Slowly build tolerance
Heat acclimatization comes from gradually increasing the intensity or duration of physical work in hot environments. According to the CDC, the best way to acclimate yourself to the heat is to increase the workout performed in a hot setting over a period of 1-2 weeks.
Usually, the best time to head outside is before 10 a.m. when temperatures intensify but keep your workouts gentle, and bring a friend or family member. For example, if you usually run for 30 minutes, maybe jog for 20, and monitor how you feel. If your heart seems to be racing, slow down. Remember, this type of physical training takes time.
We know how important it is to apply and reapply sunscreen often but it’s a good reminder if you frequently spend time outdoors in the sun. The best kind of sunscreen is broad spectrum with a SPF of at least 30. You may want to consider applying some in the mornings or evenings instead when the sun’s rays aren’t as strong.
Also, wear light, breathable clothing, and stick to light colors. However, a regular white t-shirt does not provide much protection; cotton also absorbs sweat, so try wearing fabrics that wick away sweat. Protect your scalp from sunburn by wearing a hat with a brim.
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