McFarland Clinic

Expert Answer: Avoiding Heat Exhaustion with Outdoor Activity

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July 24, 2012

Barb Wheelock,McFarland Clinic physical therapist and avid runner, offers her top 5 tips for avoiding heat exhaustion while exercising outdoors in the summer heat.

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink several hours before and after a run and during the run if it's longer than 30 minutes. A good rule of thumb is to drink when your mouth is dry and you feel thirsty, and be sure to include some electrolyte drinks or capsules.
  2. Dress Appropriately: Wear light, loose fitting clothes - technical fabric garments help wick away moisture so cooling evaporation can take place.Wear wrist sweatbands or a neck bandana that you can soak in water to increase evaporative cooling.
  3. Adjust Training Schedule: Allow yourself to go at a slower pace and take walk breaks as needed. Consider running early in the morning or in the evening.
  4. Avoid Caffeine: Be careful about drinking caffeinated beverages - they can dehydrate you.
  5. Know the Symptoms: Be aware of the symptoms of heat distress - fatigue, profuse sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and moist cool skin.

 

For more information about avoiding heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses, check out the following articles from our online health library:

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