You might have noticed that it’s been pretty hot outside — with temperatures climbing into the 90s. People who exercise regularly, especially people with heart conditions, might be wondering — is it safe to exercise outdoors?
“Exercising in the summer should be approached with some caution and planning, but it can be done, even if you have a history of heart disease” according to Lauren Conley, a clinical exercise physiologist. She offers these tips to stay safe when exercising this summer.
Consider Your Heart Health
First, if you’ve had heart problems, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen, recommends Conley. Regular exercise is key to keeping your heart healthy — so don’t throw in the towel due to heat!
“If you have a history of heart disease, you should monitor your exercise heart rate and stay within the ranges prescribed by your physician, exercise physiologist or physical rehabilitation therapist to help you avoid overworking the heart,” said Conley.
Modify Your Workout
- If you plan to exercise outdoors, do it in the cooler morning or evening hours
- On very hot, humid days slow down from your regular workout pace
- If the temperature is above 80° F and the humidity above 80 percent, postpone outside activity until things cool off
If you plan to exercise longer than 30 minutes, follow these hydration tips.
- Drink 8–12 oz. of water 20–30 minutes prior to exercise plus 6–10 oz. additional every 30 minutes of exercise to help prevent dehydration
- For most people, water is a great fluid replacement
- Avoid sports drinks to cut unnecessary sodium, sugar and calorie intake unless you sweat excessively
Dress for the Weather & Activity
- Avoid long sleeved sweatsuits or other material that does not breath well, as this prevents the evaporation of sweat which cools the body down
- Wear loose fitting cotton T-shirts, shorts and a brimmed hat when exercising outdoors
Try These Easy Indoor Exercises
If you do not have a gym membership, try walking laps around your house for a set amount of time or walking up and down your stairs for a great indoor workout.
As always, consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Be heart-smart — stay active and reap the benefits of regular exercise all year round!