Tips for beating the southern heat in Georgia
If you prefer outdoor workouts, getting exercise under the glare of the Georgia sun can be a grueling challenge. To make sure it doesn’t get the best of you, all you need are a few sensible safety precautions.
The biggest factor in staying healthy, hydrated, and safe is replenishing fluids lost during popular outdoor activities.
Southern heat is serious business
Staying safe in the summer heat is a big issue in the nation’s “Sun Belt.” In this strip of land stretching from Southern California to Florida, temperatures tend to be higher and UV rays stronger than in most other parts of the country. When you factor in Georgia’s high levels of humidity, you have a potentially dangerous mix.
A word from our doctor
“Hot weather puts an extra strain on the body, particularly during intense workouts,” says Reginald Mason, MD, of The Southeast Permanente Medical Group. “It is always a good idea to replace the fluids and minerals you sweat out to keep your body at a safe temperature, muscle and internal organs functioning properly. It also keeps early fatigue at bay.”
Recognizing and preventing dehydration
It’s good to know the early signs of dehydration. Thirst or dry mouth is a relatively early sign of dehydration. Feeling light-headed is a symptom of a more significant loss of fluids.
Of course, prevention is your best bet. The following tips should go a long way in helping you stay hydrated:
- Drink 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
- Be careful not to take in too much water, which could lower your body’s sodium level to an unsafe degree.
- Eat salty foods (in moderation) before and after exercise if you tend to lose too much salt during workouts.
Be good to yourself
All fluids count, but water is generally the best option. Coconut water is also an option. Fruits, such as bananas and dates, can help by giving you high levels of electrolytes, like potassium. Fruit juices and even sports drinks tend to have more sugar than you typically need for exercise (unless you are involved in more than an hour of continuous exertion.)
Practicing good hydration, along with wearing proper clothing and timing when you exercise, can go a long way in preventing heat-related illness and helping you thrive in the intense southern heat.
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