Foodie Fitness Corner: Stay Safe During Summer Workouts!

Hello, Foodie Nation!

My name is Hillery and I am 11-months post-op from RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery and I’m pleased to be your Foodie Fitness Correspondent.
Admittedly, I am NOT a professional trainer or exercise physiologist (I don’t even play one on TV) but I am an enthusiast who is willing to share my experiences so far and even try some new things to help you keep it fresh with your workout.
So…now that the formalities are out of the way, on to the business at hand! Today I have what I am calling an “exercise advisory.” I’ll do these from time to time and they work sort of like a weather advisory to alert you to conditions that can be harmful to us post-ops if we’re not careful.

Today’s advisory is on the dangers of strenuous physical activity during the heat — especially exercise outside.
I like outdoor workouts. In fact one of my favorite classes, Boot Camp (“Routine Review” forthcoming) is often held outside. But exercising in hot weather puts stress on your body. The activity and the air itself increase your core body temperature, which can be dangerous.
To accommodate that, you must stay hydrated and maintain the body’s electrolyte and salt levels to avoid both dehydration and hyponatermia (low blood sodium levels). Here are a few things to keep in mind.
  1. The time of day is important. Unless you are training for an event that takes place in the daytime heat, avoid exercising outside from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Generally, the early morning or after sunset are the best times to workout in extreme heat conditions.
  2. Wear loose, light-colored clothing. The lighter color will help reflect heat, and cotton material will help the evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try specially designed, “hi-tech” running shirts and shorts which are made from material meant to keep you cool. 
  3. Sunscreen and sun protection is a must…even for ethnic skin (Black people…this includes you too!). I use a minimum of SPF 45. When it comes to sun protection remember to Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap.  SLIP on a shirt or loose fitting garments, SLOP on sunscreen, SLAP on a wide brim hat, and WRAP on sunglasses!
  4. Stay hydrated. Drink a bottle of water before you work out and another after. For newbies having trouble getting your fluids, it’s more important than ever to sip, sip, sip! Even if you aren’t thirsty, take a drink every 5 minutes, consuming at least 16 oz. for 30 minutes you work out. To replenish electrolytes, add sugar-free Propel flavoring  to your water bottle or Crystal Light type drinks designed for exercise.
  5. Check the weather forecast before you start your workout. If there’s a heat advisory or it’s a high ozone and air pollution day (code orange for sensitive groups and      code red for everyone else), you might want to take your workout indoors.
  6. Most importantly, listen to your body. Stop immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous.  Know the signs and symptoms of the 3Hs: Heat cramps, Heat exhaustion, and Heat stroke.
    1. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps and abdominals. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.
    2. Heat exhaustion is when your body temperature rises as high as 104 F (40 C) and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold,       clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.
    3. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C). Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. You may develop confusion and irritability. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.
If you develop any of these symptoms, it’s essential to lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away. In the case of heat exhaustion, err on the side of seeking medical attention.
Here are some immediate steps you should take (and ask someone to help you if you think you need to):
·         Remove any extra clothing or sports equipment
·         Drink fluids — water or a sports drink.
·         If possible, fan your body or wet down your body with cool water.
·         If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, seek medical attention!
So, in summary: DO get your workout on, even during the summer and DO take extra precautions when exercising during excessive heat because you DON’T want to compromise your progress with a medical emergency!

About Hillery

Hillery is almost 11 months post-op RNY. In her spare time, she is seeking to conquer the world of natural hair care (no…we’re not kidding!) and actually ENJOYS going to a fitness class called “boot camp” (we are equally perplexed).

Have a fitness question for Hillery? Email with the subject line “fitness.” REMEMBER: Hillery is NOT a personal trainer and can’t give professional advice but experiences? She’s got those by the dozen and is more than willing to share!

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