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Safe Summer Fitness
June 17, 2019
In June we join the National Safety Council in celebrating National Safety Month, which focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. As a people-first culture, Balfour Beatty will be sharing information each week on personal safety – including being cautious when using ride share services, using safe practices during fitness activities (especially in the hot summer months ahead), and the importance of CPR training and awareness of AED location in the workplace.
Your exercise routine in warm weather demands more energy than in cooler weather. Exercising outside can feel great, but it is important to keep the following precautions and preparations in mind to stay safe in the summer heat.
The Summer Heat
If you are going to exercise, try and do so during the cooler parts of the day. Planning your workouts early in the morning or early in the evenings is best as you avoid the most intense heat. If this isn’t an option or you live in a warm climate where the cooler parts of the day may still be too hot to safely exercise, opt to workout in a gym or indoor area.
Little things such as clothing and sunscreen can help tremendously when exercising in the summer heat. Wearing loose, light colored garments can keep your body temperature down while also providing comfort. Be sure to apply sunblock! Reapply at two-hour intervals even with “sweat-proof and water-proof” labeled sunscreens. It is better to be safe than to suffer the consequences of a painful sunburn.
Dehydration is a risk especially during fitness activities, and heat exhaustion is a dangerous condition that is a high risk when spending multiple hours in the summer heat. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Staying hydrated improves your fitness and overall health, and it will prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion. If you are feeling subpar, don’t attribute it to having an off day. Ignoring symptoms of heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, fainting, disorientation and many more medical issues. Signs/Symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration include dizziness, heavy sweating, rapid pulse, clammy skin, fast breathing and nausea. Whether you are inside or outside, hydration is key to a safe workout and healthy lifestyle!
When your alternative to the heat is indoor exercise, be sure to practice gym safety. The use of weights and exercise machines can cause numerous injuries. Most gym equipment has signs detailing the proper lifting techniques. If you choose to use free weights or bars, ask a spotter for help when lifting particularly heavy weights. Another way to keep yourself safe during fitness activities is by stretching. Aside from improving flexibility, stretching increases your performance in physical activities while decreasing your risk of injuries.
Don’t Go it Alone
The buddy system – you have learned it since elementary school! It is so simple, but it works; it is always a good idea to exercise with a buddy. Aside from being safer, having an exercise partner can make workouts more enjoyable, and this applies not only in the summertime. Fitness can improve your health and quality of life, so grab your spouse, kiddo or pet, and get active!
If you can’t find a buddy to bear the heat with you, follow these tips for exercising alone!
1. Get some wearable identification
Most people carry their keys and phone when exercising and that is about it! There is always a risk when exercising alone, so it is smart to carry some identification in case of emergency. If you don’t want to carry your driver’s license, consider investing in an ID band. Tags on wearable IDs provide paramedics with contact information for loved ones and share important health information such as allergies to certain medications.
2. Tell a friend
It is as easy as telling a trusted friend or family member about your exercise plans – send a text or give them a call. When you let someone know that you are going to be out, where you are headed and how long you plan to be gone, you will always have that person looking out for you. Just remember to tell them you returned safely!
3. Avoid isolated areas
Exercising in secluded places can be dangerous for individuals. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and always trust your gut when exercising alone. If something makes you feel uneasy or looks suspicious, it probably is. If you choose to go on an isolated trail or path, follow the tips above as preventative measures.
Nothing feels better than getting outside and enjoying the fresh air of summer, but hot weather is an additional variable to any fitness activity. Practicing fitness safety shouldn’t be exclusive to the summer months, but you are sure to spend more time outdoors when warm weather finally arrives. Staying active is only beneficial when you stay safe. It is essential to pay attention and practice fitness safety by being aware of smart and safe practices.