Summer Exercise Safety

By Anna Phillips

The sun shines, sweat glistens, a tan appears, and the pool calls. Summer weather beckons us to take our workouts outside. While basking in the sun feels good, it can turn out to be dangerous if we do not properly protect ourselves from the rays, heat, and other relevant environmental factors. Personal trainer Courtenay Schurman, NSCA CSCS, offers advice on working out safely in the sun.

As a co-owner of Body Results Inc., Schurman knows the ins and outs of exercise safety. So when should we take our fitness outdoors? It depends on where you live. “The best time of day is when temperatures are at their most moderate and pollution is at its lowest,” said Schurman.

In addition to taking the pollution and heat into account, it’s important to note how much time you are out in the sunshine. Too much time in the sun can lead to skin damage and wrinkles. As a skin cancer survivor, Schurman knows the reality and seriousness of skin protection. For starters, you should wear at least a 30 SPF. “[It’s] best to workout outside of the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” said Schurman. “I wear a brimmed, light colored, and mesh hat when possible for air-ventilation, and white to light tops and pants of breathable fabric.”

Skin protection is an important part of exercising safely outdoors, but we cannot forget hydration. “If you have lost more than a pound of bodyweight then you are dehydrated,” said Schurman. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.” So how much do you need to drink when working out? Schurman recommends drinking 8 to 16 ounces 30 minutes before you start, another 8 ounces per hour of outside activity minimum, and rehydrate at the end. Dehydration can have serious effects, so make sure whatever you choose to replenish your body with is caffeine free, as caffeine only aids in dehydration.

Use these tips the next time you are headed out for a trail run or bike ride for optimal health and safety.

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Categories: Your Lifestyle

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