Exercising outdoors has many benefits, as you have read from fellow Mommy's Corner contributor Jessica Rodi. In order to get the most benefits and have a great time outdoors, it's critical to keep these 3 very important tips in mind.
Always ensure that your surrounding environment is safe. If you are near or in the water — whether it be a pool, lake or at the beach — read all the signs and safety warnings. Having a lifeguard on duty and knowing where they are located is essential. If running on a non-paved road, having the proper stroller/ bike and footwear for off-roading is also important. Anytime you take any trails or will be in a remote location, have a (charged) phone with a tracking device to let someone know where you will be. Adventures are fun, but also can mean isolated areas with little to no other people. Wear bright clothing that are easily visible to vehicles.
Hydration & Heat Stroke Prevention
Staying hydrated, especially in the summer heat, will decrease your risk for heat stroke. Checking the temperature and humidity levels on the daily forecast provides insight on your possible risk of dehydration. High humidity decreases sweat evaporation and can put you at higher risk for dehydration and heat stroke. If Temps are > 86F and humidity levels are > 60%, opt for working out in the early morning or late afternoon. Take a large water bottle with you and extra fluids for your little guys too. Remember children are at a higher risk for heat stroke due to decrease ability to sweat, inability to replenish liquids on their own and many other physiological factors. If you or your child experience any of these symptoms:
- Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
- Muscle or abdominal cramps.
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Throbbing headache.
- Dizziness and light-headedness.
- Lack of sweating despite the heat.
- Red, hot, and dry skin.
- Muscle weakness or cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak.
- Rapid, shallow breathing.
Remain calm and call for help immediately. Seek medical attention immediately. Find a cool, shaded area as quickly as possible to avoid any worsening of symptoms.
With the UV index at its peak during the summer months, wearing light and cool clothing is key. Light colored, cool sportswear with extra-tight knitting or treated fabrics are your best bet to keep you cool and protect skin from sun damage. Wear sunglasses that have both UVA and UVB protection and ideally block light from the top and sides.
Apply sunscreen 15-30 minute prior to going outdoors. Bring the bottle with you, since even so-called “waterproof” sunscreens don’t last the length of a long, sweaty workout and may require multiple applications. Recent studies have indicated that sunscreens are absorbed into our bodies and we do not know the long term effects. Barrier sunscreens such as zinc and titanium dioxide may be your safest option, if you are concerned about these absorptive effects.
Insect repellent is also key for both you and baby. There are many all-natural bug repellents using essential oils that are a great option for day-to-day wear.
And last but not least, enjoy the fresh air and outdoors! An increase in endorphins and sunshine will alter your mood and can be a great way to change up your everyday routine.
Have a great summer!
Jacqueline Montoya MD | Emergency Medicine/Critical Care Physician
Citation: Matta MK, Zusterzeel R, Pilli NR, et al. Effect of Sunscreen Application Under Maximal Use Conditions on Plasma Concentration of Sunscreen Active Ingredients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. Published online May 06, 2019321(21):2082–2091. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.5586