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Safe Sweating: Beating the Heat

Summer is a great time to get up and active, and in Florida, there are many outdoor activities available to help us do so. From biking to trail walking, to the many water sports and more, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be moving.  Did you know, though, that July is the hottest month of the year in Florida, with the average high temperature between 90-92 degrees Fahrenheit?1 This makes exercising outside more strenuous and dangerous to your body. While exercising outside in the heat, you run an increased risk of elevating your core body temperature and putting additional stress on your body, which can lead to heat exhaustion or a heat stroke.

Common Signs of Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke2
  • Core body temperature of 103°F or higher
  • Increased heart rate (more than your average heart rate while exercising)
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Feeling of weakness, faintness, or dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps

Though there is an increased risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, it does not mean you can’t maintain a healthy exercise routine during the summer in Florida. By taking precautions and following a few extra steps, you can continue to exercise during these brutally hot months.

Prevention Steps

Hydration is key! According to the American Council on Exercise, the following guidelines for water intake should be followed, before, during, and after exercising:3

    • Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising.
    • Drink an additional 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up.
    • Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
    • Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.

Additional steps to take include:

  • Wear light-colored, lightweight, loose fitting clothing
  • Avoid exercising during the afternoon hours
    • Aim for the coolest part of the day (4:00 am – 7:00 am)
  • If possible, exercise indoors
  • Find shade or bring an umbrella
  • Use a hand-fan or water spritzer
  • Take breaks when needed and listen to your body

Exercising during the summer months is doable. By taking precautions, following guidelines, and looking for signs of heat exhaustion, you can keep up with your exercise routine. Now get out there and beat the heat!

References

d.o.o., Yu Media Group. “Florida, USA – Climate Data and Average Monthly Weather.” Weather Atlas, www.weather-us.com/en/florida-usa-climate#:~:text=July%20is%20the%20hottest%20month,warmer%20compared%20to%20the%20north.

“Promoting Heat Safety During Summer Months.” Edited by Florida Dept of Health Office of Communications, Florida Deparment of Health, 23 June 2015, www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2015/06/062315-heat-safety.html.

Staff, Familydoctor.org Editorial. “Hydration for Athletes.” Familydoctor.org, American Academy of Family Physicians, 3 Jan. 2018, familydoctor.org/athletes-the-importance-of-good-hydration/#:~:text=Drink%2017%20to%2020%20ounces,30%20minutes%20after%20you%20exercise.

Written by: Angelika Keene, FCS Extension Agent I and Brianna Gowin, FCS Intern. Edited by Gayle Whitworth, FCS Extension Agent III

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