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Tips and Cautions For Summer Exercising (Part 2)

Written by Courteney

Posted on June 24, 2016 at 10:02 pm


Summer – a time of the year when everyone wants a break from the gym to catch some rays while they exercise, but it can also be the most dangerous time of year to even the fittest of exercisers who don’t take the necessary precautions! We looked at signs of heatstroke and dehydration in Part 1, now we want to check out air quality, vital signs and other helpful tips.

Stay Current With Air Quality Reports

While high pollen and pollution counts are riskiest for those with chronic or acute lung conditions such as asthma, COPD or even a run of the mill lung infection, these things can still affect the lungs of healthy outdoors exercisers as well. When you are engaging in physical activity, you usually breathe deeply through the mouth, which lends the potential to breathe in more pollutants and pollen than ideal on smoggy or high-pollen days. Also, poor air quality puts greater strain on your system which is already under a type of strain during exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the dangers of exerting yourself during air quality warnings include:

  • Lung damage and
  • Increased risk of developing asthma
  • Worsening of any pre-existing lung conditions
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular distress
  • Increased risk of lung or cardiovascular related death

Tips To Work Around Poor Air Quality

There are some things you can do to maneuver around poor air quality to reduce your risk of lung or heart issues related to prolonged irritant exposure while exercising. Some of these include:

  1. Keep a close eye on pollution and pollen levels, you can do so by watching the local news or weather network, calling the EPA or a local hospital, or listening to local radio.
  2. Air quality doesn’t mean no outside work out at all that day – try to work around the most problem times, if you have issues with pollen, wait until evening when the pollen count drops.
  3. As for pollution, avoid midday and rush hour when more traffic will be contributing to higher pollution levels. The evening may be best.
  4. Try more rural areas for your walks or jogs which generally have less traffic and is therefor not as polluted.
  5. If there is a lot of pollution, or the temperature is creeping above 90’F, maybe it is time to take your workout inside to a pool, gym or your own home. The air will brighten up soon, and you’ll be back outside in no time!

More Quick Tips For Warm Weather Exercise

  • Check your heartrate – when it is hot out, you should ease back your pace to a little slower than your normal, as the heat adds extra pressure to your system. You can get apps that check your heartrate, which is a good idea for someone who exercises frequently in the sun.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen even on overcast days. It is important to protect your skin while you’re working out.
  • Wear breathable clothing that is conducive to warm weather activity.
  • Carry healthy snacks – are you on a long run or hike and start feeling hunger pangs or feeling weak? Have a piece of fruit or granola bar packed in case you need a pick-me-up midway through a very long workout.
  • Hydrate – we mentioned this one in our last post, but we’re going to say it again because it is oh-so-important!
  • Bottom line? If you feel odd or ill in any way, stop. Listen to your bod – it knows what’s up!

There you have it! All our tips and tricks for exercising safely in the summer heat. Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay safe and healthy!

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