Stay Hydrated and Safe: Essential Tips for Summer Workouts
As the summer season approaches, fitness enthusiasts eagerly prepare to work outdoors. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey, it's crucial to prioritize your safety and hydration when exercising in rising temperatures.
Here, we'll explore expert advice from Carson Powell, Sports Medicine Coordinator for CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances, Ryan Dupre, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at CHRISTUS Human Performance Center, and Dr. Jendi Haug, a Pediatric Emergency/Trauma Physician, on how to stay hydrated and avoid heat-related issues during your summer workouts.
We'll also discuss valuable tips for parents who want to keep their children safe and well-hydrated in the summer heat.
1. Understanding Your Body and Hydration
Carson Powell, Sports Medicine for CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances says, knowing your body is the key to staying safe from heatstroke and dehydration. For that reason, it’s extremely important to know how your body responds to exercise.
Everyone has different amounts of water they need to stay hydrated so Powell suggests tracking your hydration levels by weighing yourself before and after a workout to track water weight accurately. By doing this you can set goals of how much water you drink and to see where you can improve if you’re not drinking enough.
2. Recognizing Dehydration Symptoms
Dehydration symptoms can be more than just fatigue and cramps, according to Ryan Dupre, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at CHRISTUS Human Performance Center.
Dupre highlights the most commonly overlooked indicator: Urine. The darker the color, the more dehydrated your body is, the lighter the color and overall clear look, the better. Some other common signs include:
- Feeling thirsty or lightheaded
- Dry mouth
- Muscle Cramps
- Chills or Fever
- Dry or Tightened skin
If you begin to develop symptoms like these, immediately try and hydrate yourself. If symptoms continue contact your medical professional immediately.
3. Understanding Exercise Conditions:
Both Powell and Dupre stress the importance of considering exercise conditions. Powell advises adjusting workout times to avoid extreme heat, opting for early mornings or cooler evenings.
Factors like environment and humidity should be considered as higher humidity can impede the body’s ability to cool off. Staying home when sick is also important as the body is already dehydrated and needs rest to replenish.
4. Exercising with a Partner:
Communication and awareness are important when working out with a partner. Powell urges paying attention to signs of confusion or mistakes in your workout partner. Some examples to look out for include:
All of these examples are red flags for dehydration or other serious complications your workout partner could be having. If you or your partner are experiencing these symptoms you should ask them to sit down for a little bit and take more rest while working out.
- Difficulty counting reps
- Loss of strength
5. Keeping Kids Hydrated:
When dealing with smaller children in the summer heat it’s important to make sure they are hydrated. Dupre advises incorporating at least five or six water breaks within an hour-long session of playing or exercising outdoors. Parents should also be mindful of their children’s nutrition, avoiding fast food and sugary drinks that can lead to overheating. Eating healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables like:
All of these options have a high-water count and will help in keeping your young ones hydrated for the summer.
6. Pacing Yourself
Keeping a steady pace and not pushing yourself too hard is equally important to the workout itself. Starting with super high-intensity exercises without proper preparation can be risky and lead to serious injury. Gradual progression allows your body to adapt and regulate heat more efficiently over time. Training in this way will not only help prevent injury but help ensure long-term benefits without injury or overheating.