HealthFocused

Educational health information to improve your well-being.

Stay Fit and Safe During Summer

June 1, 2017 | By Jordan McCray, student intern with Community Outreach
Published in: Fitness, Nurses Health Corner

Friends running together

Summer is finally here! It's a great time to enjoy all of your favorite activities outside, including your daily workout. But spending time outdoors also comes with risks and concerns. Follow these tips to beat the heat, stay safe, and get the best results:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before, during, and after exercise. Staying well hydrated is very essential to avoid illnesses such as heat stroke or exhaustion.
  • Pick the right time to work out, preferably in the morning or evening. The temperatures are typically cooler during those times.
  • Apply sunscreen to protect your skin. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Oil-free formulas don't interfere with the body's ability to cool down. Sweat-proof formulas are lightweight and help prevent eye irritation.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures and cool yourself down gradually. Don't go right from the outdoor heat to a cold air conditioned room.
  • Wear suitable clothing to keep away moisture and enable air movement. "Wicking clothing" is made especially to pull moisture away from the skin through a polyester design. The fabric allows you to get cooler and drier in less time.
  • Ask your doctor or health care professional before you jump right in to exercising outdoors. You may be unaware if you're already sensitive to heat or if your medication can affect how well your body can cool itself down.
  • Listen to your body and use your best judgment. Although exercising in the heat may be generally safe for most people, unusual symptoms may come about. If you start to feel funny or uncomfortable, slow down or stop your workout. Exercising in the extreme heat isn't the best time for you to push yourself.

Walk This Way: The Top Rated Smartphone Apps for Walking

Did you know that your smartphone can actually help you lead a healthier lifestyle? Mobile apps seem to be the new trend for popular exercises such as running and walking. Whether you have an Android or iPhone, there are apps available to increase your motivation to work out, in addition to tracking your progress. Here's a list of the most top-rated walking apps to help you stay healthy and fit:

MapMyWalk (Android | iOS)

Easy-to-use app that records details of your workout such as speed, calories burned, and travel routes. MapMyWalk also saves and uploads all of your details, which allows you to view and link the data with other devices and mobile apps. If you want to take it a step further, upgrade to the MapMyWalk+ version for benefits such as heart rate analysis, personal training, and live tracking of your steps.

Virtual Walk (Android | iOS)

This is a great app that can help add some spice to your everyday indoor or outdoor walk. Your travel distance gets plotted on a virtual walk through scenic and historic routes, using checkpoints like the Appalachian Trail and Washington Monument. There are many walks to choose from and each route has something new to offer. You can also compete against your friends or gain motivation together while you walk around the world!

Walkmeter by Abvio (Android | iOS)

Walkmeter is a great motivational app that posts details from your walk to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media favorites. A cool voice feature is also included to hear replies to your workout posts from your friends. This app also provides full training plains to assist you in walking your first 5k, 10k, half or full marathon.

Charity Miles (Android | iOS)

If you love to support others and make a true difference in the world, this app is for you. Just choose a charity and watch your miles turn to money! You can view your exercise duration, miles traveled, and your walking route on Google Earth. This app has already earned over 1.7 million for charity. Each "step" that you take makes the world a better place!

Endomondo (Android | iOS)

Also known as the "Personal Trainer in Your Pocket", Endomondo helps you set goals, connect with friends, and link to Fitbit. It also links to its website, Endomondo.com, to access your full training logs and analyze your fitness progress. Endomondo also provides an upgraded version that features a step counter, interval training, and visual graphs.

Whether you want to walk for personal benefit, share your goals with friends, or support a local organization, there's an app out there to help. This list is just a start; there may be another app available that better suits your needs. Have fun exploring the smartphone apps offered. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting a new walking program, choose a plan that aims towards your level of fitness, and most importantly, enjoy!

Information provided by Jordan McCray, former student intern with Community Outreach at Augusta Health. Contact Dana Breeding, RN, related to the information in this article or with questions/comments/concerns, at (540) 332-4988 or (540) 932-4988.