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Exercise caution with outdoor summer workouts

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Exercise caution with outdoor summer workouts

A participant does pushups around a large tractor tire, rotating to stations in sun and shade, as part of an outdoor Boot Camp workout put on by The Weight Room in Escalon.

DAWN M. HENLEY/209 Health & Wellness


POSTED May 29, 2013 5:57 p.m.

Summertime generally brings on the motivation to get into shape to look better in a swimsuit, or even shorts. While exercising in the outdoors can help prevent workout boredom, high temperatures and sunlight need to be treated with respect so an outdoor workout doesn’t turn into a trip to the emergency room.

“There are a lot of things you can and shouldn’t do,” said Joe Foster, trainer and co-owner of The Weight Room gym in Escalon. “Most people know common sense – to stay hydrated and wear proper clothing.”

Foster, who conducts an outdoor Boot Camp workout and deals with rain or shine conditions, said that there’s a little more to it than just “staying hydrated” and wearing the “right” clothes when it comes to working out in hot weather. Now that the warm weather is here, he provided some specific tips for working out safely in the heat.

“Most people usually like to wear dark clothes because they’re slimming, or they like to wear bright clothes, but those are usually tight,” Foster explained.

He said that with clothing, it’s best to wear light colors and loose clothing, which will reflect the heat and be more breathable.

“As far as hydration is concerned, heat stroke can be a huge issue,” Foster added, noting that people who are around age 50 and older are at greater risk.

He said that some people drink water that’s too cold. Taking in ice cold water during a workout in the heat, he said, could send the body into shock. He said it’s more ideal for the water to be closer to room temperature.

Another important point is that some people don’t drink water in the proper timing to stay appropriately hydrated. He said that most people don’t drink enough water before they work out.

“One to two full glasses of water about an hour to an hour-and-a-half before a workout helps hydrate the body and prepare for the workout. It plays a huge role in hydration,” Foster said.

He further noted that some people drink too much water during their workout.

“It’s common for people to overdrink and cramp up,” he said.

Foster added that a person may feel like they want to drink a lot of water during a workout but it’s best to hydrate before and not to drink more than eight ounces (one cup) of water during a break every 15 minutes or so, advising more like four to six ounces every 15 minutes. He said that as a general guideline, a person shouldn’t take in more than 16 to 20 ounces of water over an hour during the course of a hot weather workout, but noted that each individual has different requirements.

Then there is the question of sports drinks.

“Personally, in my opinion, when it comes to sports drinks, they’re good after a workout when you want to refuel,” Foster said. “Too much sugar, especially during the heat, can have a negative effect. Plain water is best.”

Some people also sunburn easily and don’t notice the redness while they’re working out because their mind is elsewhere. One hour in the sun can result in a bad sunburn, he said. He noted that vitamin D from the sun is good but it’s wise to put on some SPF 15 or greater sunscreen. Another option, but one usually better suited for workout veterans, is to wear long sleeves.

“Another big thing for those new to heat workouts is to get acclimated to the weather before you go too hard on yourself,” he said, adding that his new clients are introduced to the outdoor workouts more gradually than clients who’ve been doing them for a while already.

“No matter where I’m working out, I try to have a shaded area near,” Foster said.

He noted that if a person hasn’t been working out in the outdoor heat and just starts out in an area with no shade or water access around, it can be detrimental. For beginners, he suggested having a shaded place nearby to cool down and added that having a water fountain nearby is a good idea in case a person needs to refill their water bottle.

Foster said people can get into trouble when they push themselves and are not prepared. He said if a person starts to feel dizzy during their outdoor workout, they need to rehydrate, find shade and cool down or rest. These potentially dangerous situations can be easily prevented with proper preparation.

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