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
- 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 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:
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.
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.
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.
Swim only in designated swimming areas and never
swim alone. You never know when you might get a
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cover soda cans to prevent attracting bees.
safety. Check equipment and the surface below it for
splintered wood or damage before children use it.