Heat safety tips for exercising outdoors

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- With summer in full swing, it's the perfect time to skip the gym and take your fitness routine outdoors.

But exercising in heat and humidity can be a problem if you're not careful.

"I encourage individuals to run early in the morning, particularly before it gets too warm, and then later in the evening when the sun starts to set a little bit and it starts to cool down," Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts, MD, MPH, said.

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Dr. Roberts said it's also a good idea to ease into your workouts when it's hot. Your body needs time to adjust to the outdoor climate. Also, take a break when you need it!

"Those breaks should mean stopping, sitting down somewhere, preferably going to a place where you can get a little bit of cool air with an air conditioner or building," Dr. Roberts said.

Probably the most important tip for hot weather workouts is to stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water or fluids with electrolytes, like Gatorade.

"It's important to be well-hydrated before you start doing any intense exercising in this heat, and also after you exercise in this heat to replenish those fluids," Dr. Roberts said. "That's very important."

Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches and cramping. So, keep the water flowing.

Another thing to remember, what you wear also matters.

"Wearing light-colored clothes, it really makes a difference if you wear light-colored clothes versus black which really attracts the heat," Dr. Roberts said.

Before you head outdoors, remember these tips, put your health first and listen to your body.