Hugo Luna, General Manager, Rick & Ann's GNC Stores
This early summer heat wave -- with temperatures every day over 100º -- is really hard on people. Frankly, it’s downright dangerous.
We've already seen stories in the news about people dying from the heat here in Texas. And it's not going to get better anytime soon. We've got more coming.
So please be conscious of the heat and the dangers it brings. If you’re going to be outside, either because you work outdoors or because you want to keep up with your regular exercise program, let me give you some tips.
My first tip for staying safe in the heat is pretty simple: stay indoors. If you have the option, just don’t go out there. Find a way to get your exercise inside, with air conditioning.
Tips for staying safe in the heat
If you have to be outside, here are some further tips.
Don’t do it alone: Exercise with a friend or let someone know your workout plans, so if something goes wrong, there’s someone to help you.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout. If your workout is intense or long, consider a sports drink that contains electrolytes. (Check out my suggestions at the end of this post).
Skip mid-day workouts: Schedule your workouts for early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler.
Look for shade: If you can’t be indoors, at least find shaded locations where you’ll get less sun exposure and where temperatures may be slightly lower.
Dress for the heat: Wear lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing. Go with light colors that reflect sunlight rather than dark colors that absorb it. Hats and sunscreens are good ideas, too.
Don’t push: If you start feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous, or if you experience muscle cramps, stop exercising immediately and find a cool place to rest. Those are all warning signs for heatstroke.
Throttle down: If you’re going to be outdoors, cut back on your level of activity. Work a little lighter; work a little shorter. Your body doesn’t have the same capability in high temperatures.
Watch the weather and the air quality: Keep your eye on the temperature forecast, the air quality, and heat advisories. TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.
Learn how to cool down: I just read an interesting piece in Scientific American. It reports that walking barefoot on a cool floor, splashing your face with cold water, or putting your hands in cool (not ice cold) water works well for reducing your core body temperature. So does a cool drink of water.
Leave your pets at home: I know that a lot of us like to jog with our dogs, but dogs aren’t nearly as good as humans when it comes to cooling down in hot weather. Don’t risk your pup’s life or health.
Talk to your doctor: If you’ve got any health conditions, get your doctor’s advice. That’s relevant to any exercise program, but it’s especially relevant to extreme conditions like we’re living through right now.
Helping you to recover after a workout
Whether you work out in the heat or indoors where it's cool, it's a good idea to use a post-workout drink that rehydrates you and helps you to recover. That's especially important in this kind of heat.
Stay fit. Stay safe.