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As Wisconsinites, we know how important it is to take full advantage of gorgeous summer weather. This is a great time to get outside and enjoy lots of physical activity, and here in the Jefferson County area, we are fortunate to have an abundance of ways to get your exercise. Every day I see people out running, swimming, playing tennis, cycling or walking.

exercising in the heatHere’s what you should know about summer exercise: When we work out in the heat, we put extra stress on our bodies. If our cooling systems cannot keep up, we can become very ill, very quickly. So be on the lookout for signs of heat-related illness, which include muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness and confusion. If you experience any of these, get to a cool place and drink plenty of fluids.

Of course, it’s best to prevent problems in the first place. Here are a few tips for keeping cool as you enjoy your exercise:

  • On days that are particularly hot and humid, try to avoid exercising in the heat of the day (unless you’re swimming). Aim to work out either before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m.
  • If you are walking, running or cycling, try to stick to shaded trails.
  • Always wear a waterproof, high-SPF sunscreen.
  • Drink water before you work out, and bring a water bottle along to help ensure you don’t get dehydrated. If you’re running, take along some cash and run past convenience stores where you can get a cold beverage, if needed.
  • Consider working out where there are other people around, in case an emergency does strike.
  • Wear the lightest, loosest clothing you can find. It might be worth investing in some of the newer workout wear made of high-tech materials designed to keep you cool.
  • Finally, on days that are just too hot and humid, work out indoors. Fort HealthCare offers some great fitness classes for people at all levels. Things like kickboxing, boot camp, Zumba, yoga and low impact aerobics classes are the perfect way to get fit out of the heat.

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