Beat the Heat: How to Exercise Safely Outdoors


Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ

“I be up in the gym just workin’ on my fitness,” belts pop singer Fergie in her hit song, “Fergalicious.”

Fortunately, the gym is not the only place to ‘get your fitness on’ – especially on those days when there are clear, blue skies for miles and all you want is the wind in your hair and the sunshine on your skin. Many people prefer exercising outside, choosing the open road for running over timed treadmill runs and cramped weight rooms. However, working out during hot summer days can lead to heat exhaustion, a form of hyperthermia in which the body creeps to temperatures greater than 104 degrees.

Between his work as a firefighter, EMT, and lifeguard, Tom Flynn has seen many heat exhaustion victims. He says that common symptoms of heat exhaustion “range from elevated body temperature, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration all the way to a coma. You’ll feel lightheaded or faint, red in the face, cramped muscles or fatigued. You can have a headache as well as body aches.”

With heat exhaustion, Flynn urges people to be extra cautious because symptoms can come rapidly without warning, whether you’re outside contracting a job or running or biking. If you or someone you know exhibits any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should immediately contact emergency services.

As an EMT, Flynn says that once he arrives to the scene, he immediately gives the patient oxygen. His ultimate goal is to cool the body and hydrate the patient. If you are there with the victim before an EMT arrives, Flynn says it’s important to get the victim to a cool, shaded area and give her water or a drink high in electrolytes.

“Stay hydrated, that’s huge,” Flynn stresses.

Here are other tips from to stay safe from heat exhaustion:

  • Do outdoor activities early in the morning or after sunset
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Go to a shaded pool (or make your own shade)
  • Wear lightweight clothing
  • Take cool showers

Ladies, what’s most important is to not fear the outdoors when you want to exercise. You just have to be smart about how you work out and how you stay hydrated. If you really want to ensure you stay cool during your sweat session, try water sports like kayaking, swimming, surfing, wakeboarding, or canoeing.


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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Fitness


I am a freelance writer with a feminist soul. Buy me some bourbon, and let's change the world.

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