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Summer Hydration and Exercise

It’s summer time, so the chances that you’re out exercising in the heat and humidity are highly likely. All exercise, especially in the heat, will cause you to sweat due to your body trying to regulate its temperature. Sweat is good! As the sweat evaporates it helps cool off your body. However, during this process the body’s fluids are diminished as sweat contains electrolytes such as salt and potassium. That being said, it is important to replace the lost fluids and electrolytes especially in warm weather exercise. 

Replacing fluids is important to: 

  • Prevent dehydration 
  • To prevent muscle cramping 
  • To avoid heat related illness. 

Symptoms of heat related illness: dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, sudden weakness, faintness or confusion along with increase in body temperature. If you experience any of these symptoms, get in a cool place, rest and drink plenty of fluids. If symptoms are severe or persist, seek medical help.  

Precautions: 

Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after warm weather exercise (16-20 ounces before and 8 ounces every 15 minutes). Cold water is the drink of choice for most regular exercise. But for heavy/long exercise in the heat you will lose body weight from all the water loss in your sweat. You may require replacing water with 16 ounces for each pound of body weight lost. Electrolyte drinks, bananas and other fruits are adequate to replace potassium and electrolytes loss (salt tablets are not recommended). You may consider diluting the electrolytes. The more concentrated the electrolyte, the slower the stomach can digest and move the fluid back into your body fluids. 

If your kids are complaining because they are hot... they probably are overheating. Children playing/exercising in the sun during the summer are more susceptible to heat illness as their sweat glands are not as efficient as adults. Children have a greater ratio of surface area to body mass then adults do. Kids also absorb heat more than adults and are unable to eliminate it as efficiently because they sweat less. In addition, kids take longer to acclimate to the heat. Encourage children to drink generous amounts of fluid pre, during, and post exercise or playing in the heat. Lastly, children benefit and need more frequent rest out of the heat to cool down. 

Always consult your physician if you see any signs of heat illness in your children or yourself. Exercise in the summer can be fun and safe with the proper precautions and lots of water! 

A special thank you to physcial therapist, Michael Salerno, PT at our Pacific st. location for the information in this blog.