7 Tips for Exercising Outdoors in the Summer
Dorian Martin | June 22, 2015
Parts of the United States have been deluged with rain during the past few months, leading to flooding and increased humidity levels. While summertime gives many people the urge to be outdoors, it’s also primetime for major storms that wreak havoc—even after the storm has passed. You need to take extra safety precautions during these times—here are seven tips to protect yourself when exercising or working outside in these conditions.
Drink enough fluids
Many areas are more humid due to the intense rains. Participating in intense exercise in hot and humid conditions can potentially be dangerous since you can lose up to three liters of sweat. Ideally, your body replaces this fluid with what you drink. However, it also may take fluid from its own tissues. Therefore, it’s important to stay well hydrated when outdoors.
Humidity and exercise intensity levels
Vigorous exercise can be dangerous when the weather is hot and humid. Therefore, it’s important to stay hydrated and lower the intensity of exercise on these days. Also, don’t rely on thirst as your indicator of the body’s need for fluid. Space out your intake of fluids so you consume replenishing fluids before, during and after the activity.
Humidity and health conditions
People with heart failure and some chronic conditions shouldn’t exercise when in heat and humidity. Their hearts can become overtaxed and they may have difficulty cooling their body temperature. Diuretics also reduce the ability to sweat. Therefore, these people should exercise indoors. If outside, they should take frequent breaks to cool down.
Mosquitoes thrive when there’s increased humidity and moisture. Therefore, it’s important to protect yourself from these pests, which also pose a health risk. Use mosquito repellent and be vigilant in dealing with potential habitats in your yard (such as dumping standing water). Also beware of exercising near stagnant water found in ponds, marshes and swamps.
Areas that experienced a lot of rain are dealing with an increased presence of snakes. Some types of snakes also will climb into a tree or may be carried in flooding. Water moccasins live near water and may climb into a low branch to get out of water. Therefore, be sure to wear boots and long pants and be vigilant around bushes. If bitten, go to the emergency room.
Fleas, which are insects that feed on the blood of animals and people, flourish in humidity (although they don’t like heat). You may come into contact with fleas in moist, shades pots where pets like to rest. Flea bites may cause allergic reactions or transmit diseases. Fleas can cause irritation and disease among dogs and cats. An integrated control program can control fleas.
Many people like to hike in local, state and national parks. However, floods caused by major rains can damage to a park’s infrastructure and hiking trails. Floods also can cause wildlife to move to unexpected locations. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check with the park’s office prior to heading out on a hike if there have been major rains or flooding in the area.