Summer Exercise

The long, sunny days that summer provides are a welcome time for getting back in shape. Walking, jogging, biking and playing tennis are just some of the great ways to exercise outdoors. As temperatures rise, however, it’s important to take steps to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Mark Lydecker, physical therapist and athletic trainer in the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center, recommends the following tips for outdoor activity:

  • Avoid consumption of alcohol and beverages with caffeine before physical activity, including the night before. These beverages act as diuretics which will increase excretion of fluids, leaving you at risk for dehydration.
  • Don’t skip a warm-up just because it’s warm outside. Stretch, walk or ride a bike for a few minutes, and drink fluids before starting a strenuous physical activity.
  • Wear light-colored clothing made of synthetic blends that are designed to wick moisture away from the skin. Avoid cotton clothing, which retains moisture.
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to minimize the affect of the sun’s rays on your body.
  • Seek exercise paths and areas with shade for your exercise activity to keep you cool. Walk or jog on grassy vs. concrete or asphalt surfaces to minimize impact on knees and ankles.
  • Keep yourself hydrated! Drink four to eight ounces of water before your activity and 12 to 16 ounces during each hour of your activity. Consider adding sports drinks if the activity will last longer than 30 minutes because they replace the sodium and potassium the muscles lose during exercise.
  • Wear shoes designed for the activity, such as biking shoes, walking shoes or running shoes. They should be comfortable and provide stability to your foot.

Summer Safety


Summer presents its own set of safety hazards for children and adults alike. Lisa Hass-Peters, RN, injury prevention educator in the Emergency & Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital, offers the following quick tips:
  • Sun exposure. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher whenever you spend time in the sun, and reapply it as needed. Some sun screens fade with sweat.
  • Heat stroke. To avoid life-threatening heat stroke (a core body temperature above 104°F), avoid strenuous activities during high temperatures. Do activities during cooler evening hours. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks for hydration.
  • Diving injuries. Severe spinal injuries can occur if people dive and hit their head on the bottom of a pool, lake or other body of water. Don’t dive if you don’t know the depth of the water. Be aware that even if you know the depth in a river or lake, theses depth can change over time.
  • Swimming. Swim only in designated swimming areas and never swim alone. You never know when you might get a cramp.
  • Insect repellents. Wear repellents, especially when hiking or camping, to prevent Lyme disease (spread by ticks) and West Nile virus (spread by mosquitoes).
  • Transportation. Children and adults should wear helmets when riding bicycles, motorcycles, skateboards or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The most effective way to prevent head injuries is to wear a properly fitting helmet.
  • Lawn mowers. Never have anyone on your lap when you are using a rider mower, and don’t let children be on the lawn when you are mowing. Wear sturdy shoes (not sandals) when mowing in case the mower slips.
  • Burns. Always watch children and pets when grilling outdoors, and never bring a grill inside if the weather turns bad. When lighting fireworks, keep flames and fireworks away from you. The safest thing is to not use fireworks at all.
  • Alcohol. Summer festivals, sporting events and other activities often include alcohol. To prevent injury to yourself or others, be a responsible drinker and always make sure you have a designated driver. Many boating accidents are related to alcohol use.
  • Bee stings. Cover soda cans to prevent attracting bees.
  • Playground safety. Check equipment and the surface below it for splintered wood or damage before children use it.


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