It’s hot! Play smart

Here’s a happy confluence: A three-day weekend (for some) and the first 80-degree weather of the year for much of North Carolina. And not just flirting-with-80 weather, for many of us it will be well into the 80s. It won’t just seem hot (compared to what we’ve experienced), it will be hot.  Thus …

A few reminders about playing hard in the heat:

Hydrate. The American Council on Exercise offers these easy-to-follow guidelines: drink 17 to 20 ounces of water before you head out to exercise, down another eight ounces a half hour before, drink seven to 10 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes (keep that water bottle handy), within 30 minutes of calling it quits drink another eight ounces.

Go slow. Advises the Mayo Clinic: “If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.”

Dress appropriately. You’re used to bundling up to stay warm; this weekend, says the Mayo Clinic, go with lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. It lets sweat evaporate more quickly, which helps cool your body. promotes sweat evaporation and cooling by letting more air pass over your body.

Avoid the mid-day sun
. To help the transition to heat, exercise in the cooler mornings and evenings.

Wear sunscreen.

Eat. This from “The heat can decrease your appetite, but it’s important to eat normally. Try to eat small meals 5-6 times per day. Include lots of fruits and vegetables. Aside from being nutritious, fruits also tend to help with hydration.”

Watch for ticks. Ticks,  it seemed, used to winter in Florida. Anymore, they’re year-round pests. But they’ll be especially eager to see you and your blood as the days warm. Give yourself cursory checks while out and about (especially if you’re in the woods) and a thorough going-over when you return home.

Watch for snakes
. No one likes the warm, sunny weather of spring more than a snake. The temperature hits the low 70s, they’re stretched out anywhere they can find sun to warm their reptilian bodies. If you need to brush up on your venomous snakes, go here.

Listen to your heart. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “… for every degree the body’s internal temperature rises the heart beats approximately 10 beats per minute faster. Exercise plus higher body temperatures and the added work of shunting blood for cooling can dramatically increase the stress on the heart during an exercise session in the heat of summer.”

Watch for signs of heat stress. Those signs, according to the Mayo Clinic:  Weakness, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, rapid heartbeat. If you experience any of the above, stop exercising, get out of the heat, drink water, wet and fan your skin. If you aren’t better in 60 minutes call a doctor. “If you develop a fever higher than 102 F (38.9 C) or become faint or confused,” advises the Mayo Clinic, “seek immediate medical help.”

Oh yeah — and have fun.

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