5 tips for exercising safely in summer’s heat

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Updated Jul 14, 2019

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Let’s point out the obvious: It’s hot outside. For truck drivers without access to a gym this presents an added obstacle. You want to exercise, but how do you do so safely in the summer sun? These tips from the American Heart Association can help you exercise safely during the summer.

1. Stay Hydrated and Keep Cool: Always have water within reach and hydrate before, during and after physical activity. For a refreshing pre- or post-workout snack, try chilled or frozen fruit, homemade popsicles made from 1o0% fruit juice, fruit smoothies, cold salads, chilled raw veggies or cold sparking water.

2. Timing: As a company driver you only have so much control over your schedule. When the wheels need to turn then you have to go, but try to fit in workouts early in the morning. It’s usually hottest outside between noon and 3 p.m. and it remains warm into the later afternoon. If the morning is still too hot for you then try out an in-cab exercise routine.

Exercise early in the morning when it’s coolest.Exercise early in the morning when it’s coolest.

3. Dress Accordingly: Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes when you exercise. Employ sunglass, hats or visors, and sweat-resistant sunscreen to protect your skin. Wear well-ventilated shoes and moisture-wicking socks.

4. Take It Easy: Don’t push yourself too hard and take regular breaks in your cab or in the shade. Check with your doctor before working out outside in the summer if you have any medical concerns or cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or other chronic disease. According to the American Heart Association, some medicines like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics can impact the body’s response to heat.

5: Know the Warning Signs: Know the signs of dehydration and heat illnesses and take a break or seek medical care. Signs of mild to moderate dehydration include thirst, dry or sticky mouth, dry or cool skin, headache, muscle cramps and not urinating much or having darker-colored urine. Signs of severe dehydration include not urinating or very dark-colored urine, dry and/or shriveled skin, irritability of confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, breathing rapidly, fatigue or listlessness, and unconsciousness. Heat cramps have similar symptoms of dehydration such as muscle cramps and pains, very heavy sweating, fatigue, and thirst. Heat exhaustion symptoms are headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, weakness, cool and moist skin, dark urine, nausea, and vomiting.

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If you experience signs of dehydration or heat illness then stop exercising right away and sip water or suck on ice cubes. Move indoors, into your truck cab, or into the shade. Drench yourself with cold water and apply cold, wet cloths to the neck, groin, and armpits. Seek medical attention if your condition doesn’t improve or worsens.

As with any physical fitness regime, be sure to consult your health care provider before getting started.