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Stay Hydrated & Beat the Heat

Summer is upon us! Sunny days are inviting and outdoor activities can be enjoyable if you can avoid overheating. When running outdoors in the heat, it is most important to keep your body properly hydrated. This is important whether you are playing sports, a jog, a bike ride, or just sitting in the sun. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.

If you get thirsty, you're likely already dehydrated. The easiest thing to do is pay attention to the color of your urine. Pale or clear urine means you are well hydrated, if it's dark… drink more fluids.

Tips For Beating The Heat For Exercise / Activities:

- Plan morning or evening runs - Avoiding peak heat index is a great place to start

- Map out a new route - If you're out for a run or walk, plan your route through shady areas when possible

- Invest in climate control clothing - Most manufacturers now offer garments that incorporate new fabrics that help regulate body temperature

- Acclimate yourself - If you are training for outdoor events, start training by spending less time in the heat. Work your way up to longer durations in the extreme conditions

- Use proper sunscreen - Apply sunscreen… avoiding sunburn will help keep your body temperature down while in the sun for longer durations

- Monitor your water intake - Make sure you are properly hydrated before, during, and after your outdoor activities

- Replenish electrolytes - When your body sweats, you loose electrolytes. When hydrating, you might choose to drink sports drinks with electrolytes such as Gatorade, etc. in addition to water

- Go with a Buddy - If your are participating in strenuous activities in the heat such as a hike, or cross country running, triathlon, marathon, etc… train with a buddy. Having a partner along, could be beneficial should you begin to feel the symptoms of heat exhaustion

How Much Water Do You Need?

What does being well hydrated mean? The amount of water a person needs depends on climatic conditions, clothing worn and exercise intensity and duration.A person who perspires heavily will need to drink more than someone who doesn't. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may also mean you need to drink more water. Some medications can act as diuretics, causing the body to lose more fluid. It's also best to avoid drinks containing caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and causes you to lose more fluids.

For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated. Sources of water also include foods, such fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes, may be useful for people doing high intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.

It's healthier to drink water while you're exercising, and then when you're done, eat a healthy snack like orange slices, bananas or a small handful of unsalted nuts. Fruit juices or sugary drinks, such as soda. "They can be hard on your stomach if you're dehydrated," he said.

Drinking water before you exercise or go out into the sun is an important first step…. Otherwise, you're just playing catch-up.

Source: American Heart Association

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Wednesday, 28 September 2022

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