Protecting your Heart in the Summer Heat

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • I thought I was going to die...from the heat.  I'm originally from Oklahoma, but living in West Virginia the past 12 years, I rarely get back during the summer. It's usually around Christmas when I get back home. However, I just returned from a visit for my high school reunion (20 years, if you're wondering). Anyway, I forgot how horribly hot it gets back home.  More than 100 degrees on the heat index is very common. Luckily, staying active is easier for me on the east coast. I mean, we do feel some hot days, but nothing as hot and as consecutive as I remember in the Midwest. But there are still ways to stay active and safe outside.

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    It's best to plan your exercises early in the morning before the day heats up, or in the evening, when things start to cool down. If the weather is too unbearable, though, head indoors. The American Heart Association suggests several indoor activities.  Some include going to a gym, where you can do a number of activities inside where there is plenty of air conditioning. You also could start a walking group with your friends at your local mall. Take up an indoor sport, like racquetball, basketball or volleyball.  Even aerobics classes are inside. When it's really hot out, I like to be in a pool. This is where I hung out the most while home - in my brother's pool. I just did a lot of floating, but to get your heart pumping, do some laps, or take a water aerobics class. I took these when I was pregnant last year and I'm still hooked. It's a great workout without the strain on your joints. And, you stay cool in the water, so that's a plus.
    Again, if you do go outside when it's hot and humid, just remember to wear light, comfortable clothes and work out in the early morning or late evening.  Also, know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you experience symptoms, stop what you're doing and cool down immediately by drenching yourself in cold water. Heat exhaustion can quickly turn to heat stroke, which is deadly, so seek medical attention if you continue with the symptoms. Symptoms include heavy sweating, clammy skin, dizziness, muscle cramps, weak and rapid pulse and nausea or vomiting. For heat stroke, there is no sweating, a strong, rapid pulse, confusion, high fever, headache, or unconsciousness.
    Finally, I reurned home to West Virginia, but it was hot here, too. I guess the heat followed me. Alas, this week it's been in the 80's, which is much more my speed.


    More posts on surviving summer heat:

    Summer Heat Wave Increases Risk of Heat Stroke

    Stay Healthy in the Summer Heat


Published On: July 29, 2008