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Exercising in the Great Outdoors

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Outdoor exercise can be invigorating and a great morale booster. But always take a few simple steps to stay safe, no matter the season.

For starters, dress for the weather. Whether it's cold or hot, that usually involves layering so you can start off warm and peel off layers as you heat up.

In warm weather, check out your local heat index. Listen for any ozone warning that it's unsafe to be outdoors before you make the decision to exercise outside.

When first working out in the heat, start with short sessions, then gradually increase length and intensity as your body adapts. As the temperature heats up over summer months, adapt exercise accordingly.

Here are some hot weather essentials:

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing to stay cooler -- dark colors absorb heat.
  • Wear a light-colored wide-brimmed hat or cap to protect your head and face from the sun.
  • Carry extra water with you since dehydration can happen sooner than in cooler temperatures.

Know the signs of heat illnesses:

  • Heat cramps -- muscle contractions even without a rise in body temperature.
  • Exercise-associated collapse -- lightheadedness or fainting immediately after exercising.
  • Heat exhaustion -- rise in body temperature, nausea, headache, weakness and clammy skin.
  • Heatstroke -- a life-threatening emergency with body temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

In cold weather, pay attention to the wind chill index -- extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even if you dress warmly, with any exposed skin vulnerable to frostbite. When it's cold but tolerable, pay extra attention to protecting your extremities -- your head, hands and feet.

Cold weather essentials:

  • Wear a hat with earflaps to protect your head and a scarf to protect your neck.
  • Wear a thin pair of liners under heavier gloves or mittens. Take off the outer pair if your hands get sweaty.
  • Choose exercise shoes that are slightly larger than usual and wear thick thermal socks or double up on regular socks.

It's possible to get sunburned in winter as well as in summer, especially during snow sports at high altitudes. So year-round, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen and a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher. Protect your eyes from glare bouncing off sand, snow or ice with glasses or goggles.

Stay well hydrated regardless of the temperature. Drink water before, during and after your workout, even if you don't feel thirsty. You can become dehydrated from sweating and other factors even in cold weather, yet may not notice it as quickly.

If you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before you head outdoors, especially in cold weather. You may need to take special precautions.

More information

The Cleveland Clinic has additional tips for exercising safely outdoors.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=732997

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Head
Water
Attention
Dizziness
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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