Tips for Exercising in the Florida Heat

A man outside, post run, squirting water on his face
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Summertime is a great time to be healthy and active. If you're a runner, you'll want to adjust your fitness routine to make sure you stay safe and get the most out of your sessions when the temperatures start to rise.

Jim Gallaway, running consultant for runDisney has some suggestions to help you beat the heat and avoid taking your runs inside on the treadmill this summer. Here are some of his tips:

  1. Try Running Early in the Morning. It's the coolest, most serene part of the day, and there's nothing like a morning run to boost your mood all day long.
  2. Drink Like Crazy. Even if you don't feel thirsty, drink at least 8 oz. of fluids each hour and more if you're outside or tend to perspire a lot.
  3. Go Light and Loose. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. The former will reflect the sun's rays better; the latter will enable you to take advantage of any breeze, including the one you make by running.
  4. Watch What You Drink. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which mean they increase urine output. This puts you at greater risk of dehydration.
  5. Heed the Heat Warnings. You need to be very sensitive to the warning signs of heat illness, which, if progresses, can be fatal. If you feel trouble coming on, you need to stop running, find some shade, get liquids and then find a ride or walk home.

Watch out for these signs of impending heat illness:

  • Headache or intense heat buildup in the head
  • Confusion or lack of concentration
  • Loss of muscular control
  • Over sweating followed by clammy skin and cessation of sweating
  • Hot and cold flashes

Skip the outdoor run it if it's too hot. Some days are going to be unsafe for running, especially if you live in an urban area where air pollution is also a concern. On those occasions, consider skipping running altogether. Or run inside on a treadmill. Or hit the pool for some laps. Remember to stay flexible, have fun and, above all, be safe.

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