Summer Fitness: Stay Safe!
Summer Fitness Safety in the Sun
Even those of us who are supposed to “know what to do” sometimes find themselves in a learning situation. So as a trainer, I talk to you and my clients all the time about the importance of hydration and proper nutrition, so perhaps it is a bit surprising that last week I found myself in the hospital dehydrated and with a mild case of heat exhaustion. WHAT?!? I KNOW! I drink water CONSTANTLY and I LOVE the heat. Well, like I said, even those of us who should know what to do, often have some learning to do….
So what’s my lesson to share? Well, after several days of working out in the blazing hot sun (accompanied by EXCESSIVE sweating), which I really enjoy, I thought that I was doing fine and drinking plenty of water, but clearly I wasn’t, so let’s recap on what I learned and how to stay safe in the sun….
- Salt. Personally, I just don’t use it. And here’s where the whole idea of balance comes in as we know that we want to avoid too much sodium and over salting our food, BUT when you are sweating excessively, you need to replace the salt that you lose otherwise you will not retain the liquids that you are drinking. So I have a sea salt grinder that I am going to use to add a sprinkle to things like eggs and veggies on days when I am really soaked after working out.
- Electrolytes. What exactly are they? Electrolytes are certain nutrients present in your body that have many important functions — from regulating your heartbeat to allowing your muscles to contract so you can move. The major electrolytes found within the body include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride (source: draxe.com). Now many people opt for sports drinks to replace their electrolytes, but for me personally, they have too many artificial chemicals to drink them, so I choose coconut water. So on my extra sweaty days, I am using coconut water throughout the day to help refuel.
- Water. Well this one is obvious, but it is just as important to drink plenty of water BEFORE your workout as it is to drink it AFTER. If you know you are going to sweat a lot, or be outside, be sure to have at least 12 oz over the course of an hour before you get moving.
- Clothing. This one isn’t always as obvious, and since many of us live in black workout pants, this is another thing to consider… White or light colored clothing is not going to attract sun in the same way that black will, so keep this in mind. I have a white hat that I use for running in the summer, it is light and breathes easy to help block the sun and also keeps my head cool.
- Sunscreen. Another obvious one, and I won’t get into any details here, but I do opt for natural, zinc based sunscreen. A great resource to use when trying to select a safe sunscreen in the Environmental Working Group.
Stay safe friends and enjoy your summer workouts – they really are the best!