Outdoor Exercise Safety

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

July 18, 2005

With heat like what our area has had lately, it is a good idea to stay in doors as much as possible. Emergency responders have received increased calls since last week, and advise everyone to exercise caution when being outdoors and working out.

"It's like an oven with full blast humidity and as you can tell, I'm not in shape and I work out one day a year and it's the hottest day of the year that I choose, so that's today," said Bryan McGinley who exercises outdoors.

"It's a beautiful day and we worked up a little sweat," said Dave Parker who walked outdoors today.

A little sweat is good, but people can mistakenly think they are sweating because the high humidity makes them feel wet, which can cause your body to overheat.

"Unfortunately you can go over into what we call heat stroke where your body loses [it's] ability to sweat. Therefore you can't cool your system and your brain actually--we're going to have to use an analogy--is kind of frying because the temperature controls are gone," said Linda G. Johnson EMS Fire Education Administrator.

Water is the best way to hydrate yourself in fact experts suggestion you have 2 glasses before you exercise and one in-between.

The healthiest sports drinks are those with natural sugar and electrolyte replacement drinks like Gatorade, but these should be used in moderation. Also people should not wear tight clothing and exercise early in the morning or the evening, when the sun isn't as strong.

Johnson explained that there are many different symptoms of heat stroke. "You may start feeling your heart rate increase, you might feel faint, dizzy. Some people actually have a little shortness of breath and mainly just a malaise or very weak and tired feeling along with muscle cramps," she said.

If you feel these symptoms, get out the heat immediately, and suspend your activity. Get cool, get loose clothing, and drink liquids in moderation.

Emergency responders said there have not been any athletic related heat illnesses reported yet this year.

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