Exercising outdoors provides a nice change of scenery, but it can also pose several health risks, especially in the high heat of summer.
"There are two conditions that happen during hot weather to a runner, or anybody else that's active outside," said Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of The Running Center, which holds long-distance runs outdoors year-round in Manhattan. "One is overheating, and one is dehydration."
Overheating occurs when oxygen and blood are diverted from your skin to your muscles, causing the skin to not cool effectively, while dehydration is the loss of fluid from sweating.
Both can have serious health consequences, from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to heat stroke, which is potentially fatal.
To help prevent overheating and dehydration, Solkin recommends learning how to monitor your pulse (an elevated heart rate is one sign of overheating) and drinking water and sports drinks to help replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. You should also work out in the shade if possible to avoid the sun and stop if you feel lightheaded or are struggling more than usual.
"If you want to go out and run or exercise outdoors, there are ways to do it properly to get the best from your body and your mind," said Solkin. "You need to take care of yourself."
Mindy Solkin will teach runners how to use a heart-rate monitor through the two-part clinic, Run to the Pulse of Your Heart, today at 6 p.m. at Discovery Times Square (226 W. 44th St.), followed by a run in Central Park on June 28. The clinic respectively repeats on July 16 and 19. Tickets $49, including admission to Discovery's "Body Worlds: Pulse." Call 212-362-3779 or email email@example.com to register.