Summer is finally here! You may be eager to spend time outdoors, taking advantage of local parks, pools or walking/bike paths. These physical activities can be a ton of fun and good for you, so the National Kidney Foundation has 5 tips to help you safely take your workout outside this summer:
- Stay hydrated. Hydration is the key to avoiding heat stroke. Did you know that some medications may intensify the effects of heat-related illnesses? Also, consuming diuretics like caffeine and alcohol before exercising in the heat can accelerate the effects of dehydration. Be sure to drink lots of water and hit those neighborhood lemonade stands (but beware of the sugar)!
- Slow down. When exercising in heat and humidity, it’s important to take it easy. Give your body time to adjust to the warmer temperatures. Learn how your body responds to heat and humidity before trying out a new sport or exercise activity. If you feel tired or dehydrated, stop, seek covered shelter and drink water.
- Protect yourself. Transplant recipients typically know how important it is to apply and re-apply sunscreen often, but it’s a good reminder for everyone who is spending time outdoors in the sun. Pick a "broad spectrum" sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. You may also want to consider exercising in the mornings or evenings, when the sun’s rays are not as strong. If you choose to exercise between 10 am and 4 pm (the hottest hours in the day), seek shade whenever possible.
- Wear light, breathable clothing. Stick to light colors, but be aware that a regular white t-shirt does not provide much protection. Cotton also absorbs sweat, so try wearing synthetic materials that are lightweight and fabrics that wick away sweat. Also wear a hat with a brim and sunglasses to keep your head and eyes protected.
- Make it a family affair. Many outdoor activities can be fun for the whole family and even solo exercise won’t feel like a chore if you make it fun! Here are some suggestions for group activities: play basketball or baseball in the park, go for a hike, throw a Frisbee, play volleyball at the beach, fly a kite, or bike to explore a new area of town.
Remember, before beginning any new exercise program or making changes to your existing program, be sure to check with your doctor or medical team.