Looking out the window today I realized how quickly the time is going by. The weather is quickly getting warmer and that sun that we were deprived of in January, February and April (really) can’t seem to stay hidden anymore. It has me thinking about all the things I can’t wait to do and am already busy with outside again. I’m guessing that if you are at all active (or just a fan of warmer weather) you probably found your mind drifting as well. Before you do break through that threshold and head outside into that lovely sunshine you probably want to remember a few basic things.
First and one of the most important (as it gets warmer) is your hydration level. Many people make the mistake of not packing enough water or appropriate other hydration sources when they are outside. Often people don’t realize they need water until they really need it. Speaking for those who live in Southern Ontario, we get plenty of very warm and humid days during the summer. Dehydration can make whatever you’re doing much more difficult and can be dangerous; so here are a couple simple tips to help you try and stay hydrated when you are outside. You should be drinking before, during and after exercise in order to try and maintain your hydration status. If you are thirsty and feel “dry”, then you’re likely already dehydrated; regular sipping of water during is good way to maintain your hydration level. Last year The American College of Sports Medicine was recommending that you generally consume about 3-8 ounces (approximately 90-230mL) every 15-20 minutes. If you are going to be exercising for a prolonged period of time (more than 1 hour) you may need to consider electrolyte replenishment as well. This can be through sports drinks, tablets, gels etc. Remember these are a general guidelines and what you may need to do could be different. Consulting a dietician (like our own Julia Burt RD) can be a source of great information for your specific needs, especially if you are actively training!
Now that you are well hydrated, you want to make sure you protect yourself from the sun. It’s probably not sitting in the sky waiting to get you but it will if you give it a chance! Help protect yourself from sunburns, heat exhaustion and heat stroke by doing a few simple things. Wear sunscreen with an appropriate SPF and reapply accordingly based on what you use. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes, wear a hat and good breathable weather appropriate clothing. Simple enough right? Good. You really don’t want to end up in the hospital feeling pretty terrible, it has happened to me and its seriously not fun.
Finally, plan your activities according to the weather. Don’t be sitting outside when the sun and heat are strongest, doing exhausting work, when you don’t have to. If you are going to be doing endurance or cardiovascular exercise/activities outside, you may want to consider early mornings or later in the evenings.
Hopefully the spring has been good to you so far. The weather is pretty great outside and will only get better. Take advantage of it, just don’t overdo it. Also feel free to contact us for more information or questions! If there are topics you would like to see us cover, definitely drop us an email and it may be featured during a future blog post.
Fady Rofail PT DPT
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(Note: Blog is for general informational purposes only and should not constitute any substitution of personal medical or professional advice)