(CARLSBAD, CA) — If you’ve been anxiously awaiting summer and the opportunity to take your workouts outdoors, just remember that exercising in warmer weather has its risks. To make sure you don’t wind up with a dangerous case of heat exhaustion or heat stroke follow these tips from Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise:
Drink, drink and drink some more. Hydration is critical in preventing heat-related illness. Consume water before, during and after your workouts. Be aware of the early signs of dehydration: fatigue, heat intolerance, flushed skin and light-headedness. Symptoms of severe dehydration include: difficulty swallowing, stumbling, sunken eyes and dim vision, diminished sweating, numb skin, muscle spasms and delirium.
Be aware of the temperature and humidity and adjust the time, intensity and duration of your workouts accordingly. For example, exercise early in the morning or at dusk, and move at a more moderate pace when the temperatures are high.
Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. Stick with materials that breathe, like cotton, and wear a hat and sunglasses when the sun is bright.
Opt for an indoor workout on the very hottest days. Escape the heat while enjoying an exercise class or weight-training session. No matter what activity you choose, your hamstrings always need a good stretch when you’re done.
The following stretch targets the back of your leg, from your hip down through the hamstrings on the back of your thigh, into your calf muscles and Achilles tendon. Extend one leg, placing the heel on a step or on the floor in front of you. Bend your supporting knee as you hinge from your hips and lean forward slightly.
Keep your chest lifted and tip your pelvis forward so that your hips and tailbone stick out behind you. When you feel a mild stretch down the back of your leg, hold the position for 15-30 seconds, breathing naturally. Reverse and stretch the other leg. If you’d like more support for your back, you can place your hands on the supporting thigh.