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Summer Tips

by SSgt Randy Redman
Thunderbolt editor
Graphic by SSgt Randy Redman

Summer is the time when many of us begin to get back into shape and spend time with family and friends outside. Here at MacDill, this is also the time when we all need to be the most careful with outdoor exercise activities, due to the extreme heat and humidity. If done properly a summer exercise program can be fun and rewarding.

  • Begin gradually and don't overdo it. Staying with a moderate exercise program for the long term is much healthier then doing high intensity exercise for a few weeks at a time.
  • If you are just beginning an exercise program, always consult your health care provider first.
  • Wear a hat. Skin cancer is the most common preventable form of cancer.
  • Increase intensity and duration at a rate of about 10 percent per week. This helps avoid overtraining injuries and allows your body to adjust to the new activities.
  • If you are trying to lose weight, do it wisely. The healthiest way to attempt weight loss is to slowly decrease caloric intake while gradually increasing energy expenditure or exercise activities. Ideally, weight loss should not exceed one to two percent of body weight per week.
  • Alternate high intensity exercise days with lower intensity days. Your body is not designed to go all out seven days a week.
  • Avoid the mid-day heat. Try to exercise in the early morning or in the evening.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Lightweight materials help keep perspiration off the body and keep you cooler.
  • Hydration is essential. This means drinking plenty of water throughout the day, not just when exercising. If you wait until you are thirsty to drink, you are already on your way to being dehydrated. As a general rule, drink 16 ounces of water one to two hours before exercise, eight ounces. every 15 to 20 min. during, and 16 to 24 ounces afterwards.
  • Listen to your body-when you are tired…take a day off. Rest is essential for improving fitness and for avoiding overtraining injuries.
  • Pick exercise activities that you enjoy. No matter how good an activity is, if you do not enjoy it you will not stick with it for very long.
  • Know when enough is enough. If at any time in your workout you develop a headache, nausea, dizziness, cramps or weakness, stop exercising and sit down in a cool, shady place. Drink up to prevent dehydration. If you have a water bottle, spray or squirt your body to cool down.

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