Sean T. Mullendore, M.D. , who specializes in family medicine and sports medicine, shares summer fitness facts for you and your family:
- Exercise is an effective treatment for high blood pressure (i.e. hypertension and pre-hypertension). Did you know that blood pressure is lowered by five to 10 points for up to 22 hours after moderate bouts of exercise?
- New guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend that all 18 to 65 year-olds should get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (like brisk walking) five times per week, or 20 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (such as jogging) three times per week.
- Those over age 65 or between ages 50-64 with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, or functional limitations that affect physical fitness or movement ability such as arthritis, should consult a physician before beginning an exercise program of moderate to vigorous intensity.
- To avoid dehydration when exercising for more than 30-60 minutes in hot, humid weather, drink fluids before, during and after exercise.
- The ideal rehydration fluid is water or a sports drink containing between 4% to 8% carbohydrate. Hydration should not be accomplished with caffeinated and/or carbonated beverages (e.g. soda pop) or alcoholic beverages.
- Normal hydration status can be determined in one of two ways. First, you can drink enough fluids to keep the urine a light yellow color. Alternatively, you can weigh yourself before and after exercise; then drink fluids until your post-exercise weight is within 1-2 pounds of your pre-exercise weight.
- Muscle cramps are common when exercising in warm weather. The most effective immediate treatment for a cramping muscle is to stretch the muscle out for 30 seconds to several (i.e. 5-10) minutes.
- Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions that can cause death. Risk factors include dehydration, previous heat illness and obesity. Symptoms include light-headedness, headache, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms while exercising in a hot, humid environment, you should stop exercising and try to cool off immediately.
- Children with moderate to severe asthma who exercise regularly are more likely to improve their quality of life and asthma control.
- Cross-training - alternating exercises on different days - may prevent overuse injuries and increase the chances that you’ll stick to your exercise routine.