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Stay hydrated when working out in heat

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POSTED June 20, 2014 7:25 p.m.



When the weather sizzled up to 106 degree last week, Wendy Deulus took her workout to the swimming pool.

The Ripon fitness trainer operates a boot camp at Stouffer Park on Mondays. For the most part, she takes a group in an outdoor setting and spends 20 minutes doing cardio, 20 minutes on strength training and 20 minutes of core strengthening.

On this day, she opted to change things up.

Deulus, who has 20 years of experience as a fitness instructor, is aware of the dangers that strenuous activities – running, bicycling, or playing sports – pose for the average person in the sweltering heat.

“It all depends on how fit that person is,” she said. “I work with people, who, for the most part, can’t take the extreme heat.

“I’ll do pool workouts with my people or more stationary exercises.”

Some people may insist on exercising in the sizzling heat as way to lose weight. The health hazard here, according to Deulus, is heat stroke.

“You may cut weight by losing (body) fluids due to sweat but I don’t think overdoing it is worth the risk,” she said.

As for those who opt to conduct their workouts in the sweltering heat?

“Staying hydrated is so important,” said Deulus, who added several hot-weather tips.

Health experts point out that it’s important to drink up before you’re thirsty. Once you start craving water, you’re already 3 percent dehydrated, according to Good Housekeeping’s ‘How to Exercise in Hot Weather.’

 In order to avoid that, drink two to three cups a few hours prior to the workout, 10 minutes before, and one cup every 15 to 20 minutes while exercising.

Deulus said wearing lightweight, light-color clothing or the right sports gear can be helpful in hot weather. Certain fabrics are designed to move sweat away from the body. A hat or a visor with a four-inch brim can protect the face from the harmful rays.

She also insisted that fitness buffs restrain from overexertion on these days. “Try not to push (yourself) by going for a personal best,” Deulus said.

Hot weather or not, attendance in her outdoor classes – Deulus also teaches a cycling and fitness classes at the local health clubs – is often the same at this time of the year.

“People in the summer are really on and off due to their kids being out of school and vacation schedules rather than the heat,” she said.

Other helpful tips include:

• Slathering up on sunscreen every two hours. Try an SPF 30 or higher. Sunburns aren’t just bad for the complexion but can raise the body temperature.

• Avoiding the high heat hours. Run or walk early in the morning or in the early evening and, if possible, on dirt paths rather than the sun-absorbing pavements.

• Eating often.  Working out with food or fuel can be especially dangerous. Try snacking throughout the day on lettuce, carrots, grapefruit or apples.

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