Sports training often heats up in the summer, just as temperatures begin to soar. Beginners and pros alike can stay safe with these tips for getting the most from summertime workouts.
1. Avoid Heat-Related Illness
The body is designed to keep you cool. But when it's hot and humid, your body can't always keep up. The result may be heat-related illness. To avoid it, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over seven to 10 days. Stay hydrated and exercise during cooler parts of the day - early morning or after sunset.
Your body will tell you when it's in trouble. The signs include weakness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and dry mouth. If any of these occur, stop exercising and cool down. If that's not enough, get medical help.
2. Drink Up
Drink 16 to 32 ounces of water per hour during activity. If your workout lasts longer than 90 minutes, try a sports drink, which replaces lost salt and minerals. If you're on a low-salt diet, however, ask your doctor before choosing sports drinks.
3. Dress for Success
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Choose those that "breathe," or allow air to circulate between the skin and fabric. Light-colored clothing will reflect the sun's heat away from your body. Look for labels that indicate moisture wicking and sun protection.
4. Be Sun Smart
Avoid exercising outdoors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest. Wear sweat-proof sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more, and reapply at least every two hours. Also, wear sunglasses that offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection.
5. Put Safety First
If you're trying a new activity, learn to do it right and progress slowly. Proper form reduces the risk for overuse injuries, such as tendonitis. Wear all necessary safety gear, such as knee or wrist pads and a helmet. Such equipment makes it harder to cool off, so put it on right before your activity and take frequent breaks with it off.
6. Take Caution
If you have a health condition, such as heart disease or asthma, ask your doctor if you should take any precautions before exercising in the heat. Even illnesses such as a cold or the flu can decrease the body's ability to deal with heat. Take a day off or decrease the intensity if you're not feeling well.
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Are Energy Drinks Harmful?
They promise power and stamina. Do energy drinks deliver health risks instead?
For most people, it's safe to drink them occasionally. However, these beverages are costly and full of calories. And potential side effects include:
Some energy drinks contain nearly 150 milligrams of caffeine. That's about four times as much as a can of soda and 50 percent more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Caffeine limits depend on your age, size, and other factors. But experts agree that 600 milligrams a day is too much.
Caffeine can cause headaches, nausea, and trouble sleeping. Pregnant and nursing women, those who feel jittery, and children should limit intake.
Combining energy drinks and alcohol - popular among college students - is particularly dangerous. They may feel less intoxicated but still be impaired.