May 21, 2021

“Make Each Step Count” Community Challenge – Week 4

General Health

Welcome to week 4 of the challenge—you made it over the hump, and we hope you’re feeling on top of the world!

There are a LOT of great reasons why spring and summer are wonderful—longer days, the warm sun, pool and beach days, backyard get togethers, sports, and of course the warmer weather…just to name a few. Plus, it’s really hard to be in a bad mood when you’re enjoying the sun and being outdoors with activity—there’s that mental health and exercise at play! The sun and warmer weather can mean spending more time in the sun and heat with exercise, but this also means a few more precautions need to be taken in the great outdoors to avoid any of the conditions that made sideline you if you aren’t careful (and that’s no fun!).

Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day, which is usually between 12p and 3p and be extra cautious during the sunniest part of the day, which is usually between 10a and 4p.If you are planning to be out and about at that time, make sure to do the following:

Water, water, water! Drink water before, during and after all physical activity—even if you don’t feel thirsty. With any activity, bring water with you or plan water stops along your route. Dehydration is no joke, and is a serious condition. At the end of this blog, we note the signs of dehydration.

Plan your outfits accordingly! Lightweight, loose-fitting and moisture-wicking fabric can keep you feeling cool allow your body to sweat which can regulate your body temperature. Don’t forget sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen!

Listen to your body
Taking breaks throughout your activity is a great way to ‘check in’ and see how you are feeling. It’s best to ease your body into exercising in the heat and you may need to shorten the time spent exercising if you are not used to the heat and humidity.

Provider’s orders
It’s always important to check in with your Provider before you start an exercise program, especially if you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or other medical conditions. Certain medications can exaggerate your body’s response to heat, so it’s important to be aware of the side effects. 

Buddy system
If you are able to safely socially distance, work out with a buddy for more fun, accountability and for safety.

One of the scary things that can happen when you spend a lot of time outdoors in the warmer months is the potential for dehydration and other heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The signs of mild/moderate dehydration while spending time outdoors includes:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Dry or cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Not urinating or darker-colored urine

Additionally, if the dehydration is severe, the signs may include:

  • Muscle cramps and pain (legs and abdomen-often)
  • Heavy sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Thirst

It’s important that if you start experiencing or notice signs of dehydration, it’s important to do the following steps to ensure the symptoms don’t progress to something worse, and you take care of yourself right away:

  • Stop exercising/activity right away
  • Sip water or suck on ice cubes
  • Move to shade or indoors
  • Douse yourself in cool water
  • Apply cold, wet clothes to your neck, groin and armpit areas
  • Call 911 if you have the follow:
    • High fever (above 104)
    • Hot, dry, red skin
    • Fast, weak pulse
    • Fast, shallow breathing
    • Confusion
    • Seizure or unconsciousness

Exercise and activity is GREAT all times of the year, and so vital for your physical and mental health, but it sometimes (ok, A LOT OF TIMES) is easier when it’s warm outside to play outdoors versus the cold and dark winter-so we really have to take advantage of it!

Until next week!


Source: A. (2015, June 1). How to Stay Active in Warm Weather. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from