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Keep cool this summer, avoid heat stroke

July 11, 2010 at 2:11 a.m.


By Melissa Bagnall

Well, it is official. It is summer and it is hot.

Don't let the heat get the best of you and your exercise routine. Each year, hundreds of Americans die due to heat stroke. Even more end up in the emergency room with a heat related illness. Adjusting your routine to fit the changing weather is not only smart but could save your life.

Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion: headache, weakness or exhaustion, nausea and cool, moist, pale skin.

The symptoms of the more serious heat stroke include: vomiting, decreased alertness, high body temperature and hot dry skin.

If you or someone you are with suffers from any of these symptoms, stop exercising immediately, move to a cooler environment and seek medical attention.

Tips to avoid these life threatening illnesses:

Wear light colored clothing that is light weight and wicks moisture away.

Wear a light-colored hat and sunglasses.

Drink plenty of fluid before, during and after exercise.

Avoid taking salt tablets.

Tie a wet bandana around the back of your neck.

Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine immediately before or after exercising in the heat.

Try to schedule your workout early in the morning or late in the evening.

If the humidity is more than 85 percent, take your workout indoors. High humidity prevents the evaporation of sweat. So even if you are sweating profusely, your body is not cooling itself efficiently.

Weigh yourself before and after exercise to determine the minimum amount of fluid you need to replace. For every pound lost, drink at least 16 ounces.

Move your workouts to a shady spot. A fan can help keep you from overheating.

This is a great time to try a new type of exercise like water aerobics or swimming laps.

If you are outside for your workout, wear sunscreen that does not sweat off and run into your eyes. There are special types made for runners and bikers and others who need the extra protection.

Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and take your exercise routine to the next level. Mix things up to stay cool and avoid that rut that keeps you from meeting your goals.

Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

Melissa Bagnall is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M in physical education. You can e-mail her at: fitnesolutions@gmail.com.

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