During a Florida summer, we often dread stepping outside to face temperatures upwards of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you take the right steps, exercise and leisure activities can be done outside safely and comfortably.
Choose to exercise outdoors during the early morning and evening hours, when it is the coolest outside. If you must exercise during the daytime, take breaks out of the sun often and drink water throughout your exercise session. Pace yourself if you are new to outdoor physical activity in summer heat and stay aware of signs your body gives you to slow down.
Hydration is Key
It is important to stay hydrated when spending time outside, especially during the summer months. According to the American Heart Association, if you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated; it is best to continually drink water throughout a hot day to stay hydrated. When you’re outside in the heat, drink 8 ounces of water every 15–20 minutes. Drinking at shorter intervals is more effective than drinking large amounts infrequently.
There are many different options when it comes to sunscreen and it is important to choose the formula and brand that works for you and your family. Choose a sunscreen with SPF15 or higher and reapply at least every two hours. You should apply sunscreen more frequently if you are sweating or swimming. You’ll also want to ensure that you are purchasing a sunscreen that is broad spectrum; this means that it protects you from multiple types of UV rays.
It’s important to ensure sunscreen is applied to all exposed parts of the body. Some of the most forgotten spots include ears, nose, lips, neck, hands, and the tops of the feet. Use a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from the sun. If you have balding or thinning hair, it is a good idea to wear a hat to prevent sunburn on your head.
Another way to protect yourself from the sun is to cover with clothes as much as possible. Wearing lightweight, light-colored, and loose clothing will help you stay protected and comfortable when spending time outside in the summer heat.
Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness
Heat-related illness is especially common in Florida, where nearly every summer afternoon has high temperatures and high humidity. It’s important to monitor yourself and other members in your group for signs of heat-related illness (click the underlined words to learn more). If you or a group member begins to feel nauseous, dizzy, or light-heated, head to a cool shaded place to rest and rehydrate.
This blog post was written by Mia Forsman, UF/IFAS Extension Intern. The summer internship program is a unique service-learning opportunity and mentoring by professional educators while providing support to UF/IFAS Extension faculty and the communities they serve.