How to Keep Active and Avoid Heat Exhaustion This Summer

— Written By Kianna Cook

People at a parkNow that we’re in the heat of a typical North Carolina summer, being outside for extended periods of time can be harmful to your health. The combination of high heat and humidity can be a lot for your body to handle. However, it is important that we stay active and work towards a goal of 30 minutes of daily moderate exercise. Here we have some tips to staying cool this summer:

Hydrate – Throughout the day, consume water regularly. This will ensure that your body is well-hydrated prior to exercising. If you are planning to be outside for an extended period of time, bring a water bottle with you so you can continue to hydrate.

Exercise in the morning or evening – During the summer, the morning and evening hours tend to be a bit cooler than mid-day. Even if the temperature is still fairly high, less direct sun exposure can help you stay cool.

Find areas to exercise that are in the shade – Shady areas like trails in the woods or fields surrounded by trees can help you avoid direct sun. Grassy areas and dirt paths can also protect you from heat exposure as surfaces made of asphalt and concrete tend to get very hot in the sun.

Wear appropriate clothing – Accessories like hats and sunglasses can help protect you from the sun. If outside for extended periods of time, make sure to wear sunscreen in order to protect your skin. Also, wearing light colors and breathable fabrics such as linen, cotton, polyester can help keep your body cool.

Take time to acclimate yourself to the heat  – It can take your body 1-2 weeks to get used to performing in high heat. Listen to your body and gradually work towards exercising at a higher intensity and length.

Be aware of signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion – If you find yourself feeling extremely fatigued, dizzy, confused, nauseous, or weak, stop immediately and cool down. Re-hydrate and relax. If your condition worsens, seek medical assistance.

Find ways to exercise indoors – If it is too hot outside, find some space indoors to get active. Whether it’s yoga, bodyweight exercises, or walking laps, indoor exercise can be a great alternative to outdoor activities on hot days.

Hopefully, these tips help. Stay active and stay cool this summer!


Mayo Clinic