Exercise in summer heat the safe way

By: Amy Lipman Email
By: Amy Lipman Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Summer may seem like the best time of year to get outside to exercise, but it can be dangerous if people don't take the proper precautions in the heat.

High desert temperatures and the strong Colorado sun can lead to heat exhaustion.

"That's life threatening," said Jim Ettenger, a personal trainer at Gold's Gym who has done 100 triathlons. "You can become unconscious and die from that in 105 temperatures and above."

Training for endurance sports like marathons or triathlons and competing in them during the summer can put even very-fit people at risk.

"I've gone through that in Ironmans," Ettenger said. "I had heat exhaustion in an Ironman a long time ago. It's a process of water intake wasn't enough that day and I learned about it."

Drinking 8 oz. of water every 15 minutes from the start of the workout is the key to safe exercise.

"Say if you're going to heat exhaustion, which generally you're sweating profusely, you're getting a little pale, you're getting a little dizzy," Ettenger said. "That's a sign the body temperature is increasing. You want to basically get cooler."

Cooling down the body in an ice bath and drinking water right when symptoms begin can help stop heat stroke.

Also, athletes can avoid the heat by working out in the morning or evening or choosing to exercise indoors.

However, some exercise enthusiasts said they'd rather workout in the great outdoors. They just have to make sure they're prepared when they embark on the workout.

"Before I leave the house, I always check everything on the bike, make sure everything's OK," said Wade Carver, a mountain biker. "Obviously fill my Camelback up, which is very important out here. Hydration, hydration, hydration. You don't want to overexert."


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