Here in the Midwest, summer weather can range from cool and rainy to hot and humid, sometimes all in one day! Staying active is a great way to improve both your physical and mental wellness, so don’t let the high summer temperatures stop you from fitting a workout into your day. We’ve got a few tips for staying safe while staying active… all season long.
Keep an Eye on the Forecast
If you’re planning to go for a run or try another outdoor workout, you’ll obviously want to check the forecast to avoid any rain or storms. Although a light rain may feel good during a hard run, summer storms — especially with lightning or hail — are not safe times to be outdoors. The forecast can also help you know how best to dress, though in summer we generally recommend lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored workout clothing.
Don’t forget to also check your weather app to find out the day’s heat index. Sometimes known as the apparent temperature, this number tells us what the outdoors will feel like when humidity is combined with the air temperature. Especially here in Hancock County, humidity can majorly impact how it feels to be outside. Watching the forecast can also help with our next tip: to avoid working out during the heat of the day.
Avoid the Heat of the Day
As you likely know, the middle of the day is when the temperatures are the highest, making it the worst time to workout outside. If your lunch break is the only time you have to get active, consider finding a gym or doing a home workout during high summer temperatures. If possible, it is ideal to spend any significant time outdoors during the early morning or evening hours. This is when we can be thankful for daylight savings time giving us a little more daylight before and after work!
Stay Hydrated While Staying Active
Perhaps most importantly, you should stay hydrated if you are working out in the summer heat. Official health guidelines vary as to the amount of water you should drink per day, with some saying eight 8-ounce glasses per day and others saying half of your body weight in ounces. You can talk to your physician to determine the best hydration goal for you and your family!
Although the recommended amount of hydration can vary, the type of drink does not… plain water is the best option for staying hydrated! As part of our 5-2-1-0 Initiative, we recommend limiting or eliminating sugary beverages from your family’s diet, especially soda, energy drinks, and fruit drinks. If you want a little extra flavor, try adding fresh fruit like lemon or lime wedges to your water.
Watch for Signs of Heat-Related Illness
If you are spending time outdoors in the summer, especially while being active, it is important to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps. If you notice headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or a fast pulse in yourself or others, move to a cooler place right away and get medical attention if necessary.
Benefits of Staying Active
Here in Hancock County, some of our residents’ top health concerns include mental health, chronic disease, and obesity. Staying active can help improve our overall wellness in these areas and beyond. Physical wellness starts with healthy choices, including exercise and nutrition, and mental wellness can be supported by finding active hobbies that help manage stress and anxiety, such a yoga or hiking in nature.
Our team of Support Navigators is here to help you find the best ways for you and your family to stay active this summer. Contact us today to learn more about our connections to your local resources.