You aren’t using sunscreen
Krisana Antharith/Shutterstock You know you’re supposed to apply sunblock in the summer, but it doesn’t just affect your skin cancer risk. Sunburn also increases the risk of heat stroke, says Michael Smith, MD, chief medical director at WebMD. Aim for a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. To ensure that you get full protection, you need to apply one ounce (about a shot glass full). Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than what it says on the tube! During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an eight ounce bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin, and reapplied every two hours as well as immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating profusely.
You’re exercising in the heat of the day
Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock If possible, avoid outdoor exercise and work out indoors instead. If you must head outside, at least plan your activity for the coolest parts of the day (early morning or after sunset). When exercising in heat, stop for drink breaks every 15 minutes. Watch for dehydration symptoms such as licking your lips often, sunken eyes or feeling a loss of energy. If you’ve had heat stroke before, exercising intensely outside in high heat isn’t recommended because you are at a higher risk of getting it again, says Bixenmann. In fact, any strenuous activity in hot conditions, such as mowing the lawn, dancing at a concert, or playing softball, can lead to heat-related illness, warns Raukar. Taking regular breaks from activities, preferably in a cooler area, will help to regulate your core temperature. Here are 15 more ways to avoid summer workout dangers.
WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and be aware of the signs of dehydration. The best way to monitor this is to keep a close eye on your urine. “Make sure it’s light in color,” says Bixenmann. “It’s tough to tell people to drink a specific amount of water per day. It’s actually weight-based and different if you have certain health issues. Paying attention to your urine is the best method to find out if you are hydrating enough.” Smith adds that if you are sweating a lot, it may be best to choose an electrolyte sport drink over water. He also recommends drinking 24 ounces a couple of hours before and 8 ounces every 20 minutes during activity—even if you don’t feel thirsty—when exercising or working outdoors. Don’t miss these other signs of dehydration you never learned about.