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Corporate Wellness Advisor

Heat-proof Workouts

May 26, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Corporate Wellness Programs
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Heat-proof Workouts

This time of year, many people are preoccupied with thinking about all the things summer brings: what to do with the kids until school starts, when to schedule the first backyard barbecue, beach vacations (and how they’ll look in a swimsuit) …

With all that going on, exercise is probably one of the last things on their minds. But if they want to achieve that beach-worthy body, it’s important to keep up regular workouts, even when just stepping outside your front door is enough to make you break a sweat.

The last thing you want is for hot weather to melt away all the progress your employees have made in their fitness regimen. It’s challenging enough to get them started, after all, and can be even more so to get them back to it after they’ve given it up for a while.

Gym-goers may have the advantage in all but the best kind of weather, but the gym is not for everyone. Many people prefer exercising solo, and often outdoors. That’s fine (in fact, research shows that alfresco exercise can benefit mental health), as long as they take a few extra safety precautions in extreme weather conditions, whether hot or cold.

In preparation for summer’s soaring temperatures, take some time to help your staff members heat-proof their workouts; think heat smarts, skin protection, and hydration, hydration, hydration.

The Mayo Clinic offers these tips for working out in hot weather:

  • Take it slow. If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Your body’s ability to sweat and cool down depends on adequate rehydration. Drink plenty of water while you’re working out, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, which actually promote fluid loss.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing promotes sweat evaporation and cooling by letting more air pass over your body. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb the heat. A light-colored hat can limit your exposure to the sun.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening rather than the middle of the day. If possible, exercise in the shade or in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen. A sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Have a backup plan. If you’re concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside the mall, or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.
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