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Beat the Heat While You Stay Healthy and Fit

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Water, Water, Water

Proper hydration is a must. No matter how you choose to exercise or in whatever time of year you choose to do it, your body needs water.

Water accounts for approximately 55 percent to 60 percent of an adult's body weight. While a loss of 10 percent may pose a significant health risk, a loss of 20 percent can result in death.

Because exercise generates internal body heat, which is released and cooled in the form of sweat (water), prolonged exercise with insufficient fluid replacement can lead to dehydration. Some of the warning signs of dehydration include headaches, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, fatigue, confusion, lethargy and a persistently elevated body temperature. Advanced stages of heat exhaustion can lead to coma and cardiac failure.

And don't forget your dog. If you take it along with you for exercise, make sure he or she gets enough water. Dogs overheat more easily because they don't sweat.

The following measures can help you prevent exercise-induced dehydration:

  • Drink before, during and after exercise. Don't rely on your thirst to tell you how much fluid you need.
  • Avoid items that contain caffeine (e.g., coffee, soft drinks and tea) or alcohol because these can increase fluid loss.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing that allows evaporation and
  • If you become overheated, moisten your skin by sponging or spraying it with water to assist in cooling down.
  • Avoid the use of saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs immediately following exercise.
  • On very hot days, stay indoors or in the shade.
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