5 ways to stay safe and cool while being active outdoors

By Vanessa Racine, social media coordinator

A warm, sunny day is the ultimate motivation to take your workout outside. But a hot day and exercise can be an unsafe combination if you don't take the proper precautions.
Risks of being active in the heat
Summer heat can be hard on your body, especially during exercise. Muscle cramps and spasms can be the first sign you're overheating and experiencing a heat-related condition. Heat-related emergencies occur when the body becomes dehydrated, which may result in an increased body temperature. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, headache and fainting.
If you lose responsiness this is an emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number.
 A woman running, with headphones on, on a country road.
Tips for exercising safely in the heat
When exercising in the heat, follow these summer safety tips while having fun in the sun.
1. Stay hydrated
Hydration is key! Because you lose a lot of fluids through sweating, you'll need to rehydrate with water, before you start feeling thirsty. Choose hydrating drinks, such as water or juice. Avoid dehydrating ones like alcohol or caffeine . And drink at least every 15 minutes — to ensure you stay properly hydrated in hot weather.
For more tips on staying cool and hydrated during the summertime, read this guide.
2. Avoid the hottest part of the day
To minimize stress on your body, it's wise to avoid the sun at the hottest part of the day. If it's an extremely hot day, it's best to be active outside in the morning or the evening when it's cooler. Try to find a shaded area where you can avoid direct sunlight. Slow down your activities as it gets hotter and don’t work, exercise, or play for too long at a time.
But if the mercury and the humidity are high, you're at a greater risk for heat-related illness, so you're best off taking your routine or activity indoors for the day and savouring a safe, air-conditioned environment. Check for heat advisories in your area and follow their guidance.
3. Wear sunscreen
The effects of UV rays can be extremely harmful, and include skin aging, decreased elasticity, photosensitivity reactions and cancer. Make sure you apply sunscreen to exposed skin (with SPF 30 or higher). Beyond the harmful impacts on your skin, sunburns reduce the body’s ability to cool itself.  
4. Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing
Because the goal is to stay as cool as possible, wearing tight-fitting tops and bottoms might not be your best bet. So, keep it loose. Choose breathable, lightweight clothes that let the air flow around and through you. And stick to light colors. Dark colors absorb and trap the heat. Also, always wear a hat and sunglasses.
5. Take a break
Finally, don’t forget to take a lot of breaks in a cool or shady area to let your body cool off. This will help if you need to be outside when it’s really hot.
The rules for being active outdoor safely during summer are:
  • Adapt your exercise routine to the weather.
  • Remember the importance of staying hydrated. Listen to your thirst!
  • Avoid the hottest part of the day
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays
  • Wear breathable, lightweight clothes
  • Take a lot of breaks
Enjoy your summer and stay safe!

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