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Exercising in the Wisconsin Summer Heat

Katie's Quick Tips

Network Health wants to empower members and our communities to live healthy lifestyles. We have talented, professional health coaches on staff to offer guidance on how to achieve wellness goals. Katie Pivonka is one of our Medicare health coaches who works closely with members. Below, she offers great insights as to how to safely exercise in the hot summer months.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, it’s always good to keep in mind a few keys tips on how to stay safe, while exercising outdoors in the heat of summer:

Time of day. If you enjoy exercising outdoors, being up before the sun may just be the answer you’re looking for. Any time before 10 a.m. will ensure cooler weather for your walk, run, or bike ride. If you’re not a morning person, exercising by the light of the moon works just as well, but just be aware that the heat of the day tends to stick around sometimes as late as 7 or 8 p.m.  Always be cautious if exercising in darker conditions; wear bright colored or reflective clothing.

Be informed. Determine whether it’s even a safe option to be outside for your workout. Heat, air pollution, or even allergy advisories may mean you need to limit your activity outdoors and find another indoor space to complete your routine. In situations like this, it’s great to have a back-up plan in mind, with a workout DVD for at home or a day pass at a local gym. Having an indoor alternative will prevent you from completely skipping your workout, due to the unexpected outdoor conditions.

Protect your skin and keep cool. What you wear is extremely important. Choose light-colored, loose clothing to keep cool and a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF, to help protect against the rays of the sun. Always remember that even on the cloudiest day, you can still get burned and suffer sun damage to your skin. Choose a sport sunscreen that doesn’t disappear with sweat and generously apply at least 15-20 minutes before heading outside.

Stay hydrated. Drink at least a glass or two of water before heading outside and bring a water bottle with if you’re planning on traveling a longer distance. Continue drinking water every 15- 20 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty. When you arrive back indoors, keep hydrating throughout the rest of the day.

Be aware. This is definitely the most important tip to remember: listen to your body. If you feel dizzy, faint, nauseous, or weak, stop exercising and make your way back indoors or to a shady, cooler location. If you ignore how you’re feeling, many different heat-related illnesses could occur, such as: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke. If you do develop symptoms and they do not go away after 30 minutes, contact your doctor or seek immediate medical assistance.

Being outdoors and enjoying the warm weather is something us Wisconsinites definitely want to take advantage of when we can, so don’t let the extreme heat get in the way! Always keep in mind these basic, precautionary tips to stay safe and remember, heat is definitely no excuse to skip your workout.

Make sure to check back each month for more helpful tips from Katie.


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