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5 Outdoor Workout Safety Tips

By Edited Dec 11, 2013 0 0

Even if you love outdoor exercise, the weather can nearly always provide you with an excuse for not working out. While winter weather might make you want to curl up under your blankets rather than exercise ("It's too cold outside!"), the summer heat gives you a similar excuse ("It's too hot outside!"). The bottom line: There will always be an excuse for not exercising, but if you make some adjustments to your outdoor workout routine, then you can say goodbye to excuses and procrastination, bringing you one step closer to your fitness goals.

During spring and summer, some things you might have to consider while exercising outdoors include potentially unpredictable weather, seasonal allergies like hay fever, and insects. Here are some ways to deal with those concerns. With a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy exercising outside in the warmer months.

Practice outdoor safety by paying attention to the weather.
The weather should be the single most important factor that determines whether you will exercise outdoors. For example, summer storms are common in many areas, bringing with them dangerous lightning and sometimes hail. When you are exercising outdoors, you should head inside immediately if you hear thunder or see lightning. You should also try to avoid heat exhaustion or worse, heat stroke. If possible, avoid being outdoors during the hottest hours of the day. Weather experts might disagree about when the sun is hottest, but the general window of time to avoid strenuous outdoor activity is between 10:00am and 3:00pm in most places. Other factors such as humidity and air pollution also might threaten your outdoor workout. You should monitor their levels and stay indoors if either one is high.

Dress appropriately for your outdoor workout.
In hot weather, you will probably want to wear the lightest clothing you can, ideally lightweight synthetic fabrics that are light in color. Today's workout clothes are scientifically advanced. They are made of materials that wick moisture away from your skin to keep you cool, and some fabrics even contain sun protection. Comfortable footwear is another must-have item. Wearing a hat is a good idea too, even on cloudy days.

Remember your sunscreen.
Protecting your skin from sun damage is vitally important, and there is a sunscreen available for nearly every activity and skin type. Therefore, there is no excuse for not safeguarding your skin during your outdoor workouts. It usually is recommended that you wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, just for daily activities, never mind prolonged sun exposure. Dermatologists and other experts recommend sunscreen use 365 days a year, not only during the hottest months. For outdoor workouts, slather on the highest SPF that you are comfortable using. There are waterproof, sweat proof, all around exercise proof sunscreens in the form of lotions, gels, and sprays, so you can choose the one that works best for you.

Don't forget bug repellents.
After sunburn, the most annoying part of engaging in outdoor activities might be dealing with insects. If you work out at certain times of the day--at dusk, for example--then you are likely to be bothered by mosquitoes and other pests. Use a commercial bug spray or a natural remedy to avoid this nuisance. Some examples include sprays containing DEET or products containing plant oils such as citronella oil or lemon eucalyptus oil.

Deal with hay fever and other seasonal allergies.
Many people have to rely on antihistamines or decongestants to fight their allergies. If you take any of these remedies either over the counter or with a prescription, be sure to follow any instructions related to exercising. Some, for example, might cause drowsiness and therefore might not be recommended. Other options for dealing with seasonal allergies like hay fever might include herbal remedies or acupressure bands.

FINAL TIPS: Stretch your muscles after warming up and after your workout, and stay hydrated! Water is usually preferred; drink some before, during (if possible), and after outdoor workouts. If you want to replace electrolytes quickly, you might prefer a sports drink.

By following these simple suggestions, you can still participate in a fun exercise program while being safe outdoors.

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