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Use Caution When Exercising in Hot Weather

SATURDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- During hot weather, people who exercise outdoors need to take steps to avoid heat injury, according to the American Council on Exercise.

Staying hydrated is essential, and can be accomplished by drinking a large amount of fluids (until you're just short of feeling bloated) 30 minutes before exercising, drinking at least six ounces of fluids every 20 minutes during exercise and drinking beyond the point where you are no longer thirsty after exercise, Dr. Cedric Bryant, the council's chief science officer, said in a council news release.

Water is generally the best fluid, unless your exercise session lasts longer than an hour. In that case, a sports drink may be more beneficial.

Another tip from the council is to gradually adapt your body to exercising in hot weather. This usually takes 10 to 14 days and can greatly reduce your risk for heat injury. Once your body is acclimatized, you will sweat sooner, produce more sweat and lose fewer electrolytes, Bryant said.

The benefits of acclimatization include a lower body core temperature, a decreased heart rate during exercise and a reduced risk of dehydration.

Reducing your exercise intensity level during hot weather -- especially during the acclimatization period -- is another good idea, the council suggests. Also, don't wear rubberized sweat suits or any other clothing that is impermeable to water. This type of clothing prevents the evaporation of sweat from the skin, increasing the risk of heat injury, Bryant said.

Respect the conditions. In general, you should consider forgoing exercise when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is above 60 percent.

More information

The Texas Department of Public Safety has more about exercising safely in hot weather.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Council on Exercise, news release, June 19, 2012

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