Your clients undoubtedly share your enthusiasm for outdoor workouts. However, there are special hazards during the summer that your less experienced clients might not be prepared for. Hot temperatures can lead to heat illnesses such as heat exhaustion and even heat stroke, so it’s important to provide guidance to help your clients protect themselves through the summer months.
Here is a list of tips you can share with your clients as a handout or just a checklist to help them create safe summer workouts:
- Stay hydrated. Begin by drinking about 20 ounces of fluid, preferably a combination of water and electrolytes, about two hours before strenuous exercise. Then, every 15 minutes or so, consume another 8 ounces of fluid. If you plan to exercise for longer than an hour, your fluid should contain carbohydrates and electrolytes. If you will be exercising for a shorter duration, plain water should be fine. Don’t overdo your fluid intake; drink no more than 32 ounces per hour.
- Take it slow. It takes time to adapt to warmer temperatures, so ramp up your workout intensity gradually over the span of a week or two so your body can get acclimated to the higher temperatures. The less fit or experienced you are, the more cautious you need to be.
- Dress for the weather. Choose lightweight clothing made from a wicking material to keep you cooler and drier. Light-colored clothing keeps you cooler because it reflects heat rather than absorbing it. Wear a hat or visor to protect your face from the sun and keep you cooler.
- Schedule wisely. Morning and evening are best for workouts because it’s likely to be cooler. If you must exercise outdoors during the day, try to find a shady area for your workout.
- Adjust for the conditions. When it’s hot out, start your workout slower than usual and see how you feel. If you’re doing okay at the halfway point, try speeding up. Don’t feel bad about having to maintain a slower pace throughout your workout—that’s just what happens in hot weather.
- Wear sunscreen. This is something you should do year ‘round. Choose a “sport” variety high SPF sunscreen and be sure to apply it to all exposed skin including the backs of your hands, the tops of your ears, the back of your neck, and your lips.
- Check your meds. Many medications—both prescription and over-the-counter—come with warnings against sun exposure. If you are taking one of these medications, you need to take extreme care to protect yourself from the sun to avoid serious sunburn, blistering, hives, rashes and other skin reactions. This means dedicated use of sunscreen and protective clothing. Other medications can have a dehydrating effect, so be alert to that as well.
- Change it up. When the weather’s at its hottest, consider alternate exercise activities. Summer is a great time for pool-running or laps at the pool, bicycling or walking in lieu of running.
- Watch for warning signs. No matter your fitness level—beginner, moderate or experienced—it’s vital to remain alert to what your body is telling you. If you experience dizziness, lightheadedness or confusion, excessive sweating, fatigue or weakness, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, trouble seeing or increased heart rate, stop exercising, get to someplace cool and get rehydrated.
- Cool down. The first thing you’ll want to do when you’ve finished the lighter “cool down” portion of your workout is to cool off the rest of the way. Drink some liquid, pour water over your wrists and neck, sit in front of the fan, and take a cool shower—all are great ways to get your body cooled off.
Giving advice on fitness comes with the territory as a fitness expert. It’s why having your own personal Professional Liability Insurance policy is so important. A personal insurance policy covers you for the work you do as a fitness professional.