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Status:Closed    Asked:Mar 12, 2013 - 03:50 PM

What are some precautions to take when exercising in the Arizona heat?

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The natural beauty and sunny weather of Arizona has wide appeal — but the southwest desert heat poses a real challenge for active people due to the risk of heat-related illnesses. The rule of thumb is to avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day — between noon and 4pm. Really, though, if you’re in Southern Arizona, the hottest part of the day is anytime the sun is up. As a graduate student at the University of Arizona, I used to meet friends for a 5:00 am run around campus in the dark — because if we waited until dawn, it was way too hot. If morning exercise doesn’t work for you, choose indoor, air-conditioned exercise or an evening workout. If you prefer outdoor exercise during the day, dress in cool, moisture-wicking clothing; stay well-hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after your workout; stay in the shade as much as possible; protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen; opt for lower-intensity forms of exercise, like walking — or water-based workouts like swimming or water fitness classes; and keep your workouts short, no more than 20-30 minutes at most. A recent study found hand cooling helped overweight participants reduce body temperature and stay more comfortable during exercise; it’s worth a try.

If your workouts last an hour or more and you sweat heavily, you may benefit from a sports drink with electrolytes instead of plain water. Above all, use common sense — take preventive measures, and listen to your body. Learn about the signs and symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke — but your best bet is to prevent them in the first place.



Mar 12, 2013 - 03:51 PM

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