By: Dr. Meredith Butulis, DPT, MSPT, OCS, CIMT, ACSM CEP, NSCA CSCS, NASM CPT, CES, PES, BCS, BB Pilates, Yoga, PBT level 3
Headed outdoors for hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, fishing, beach time and more? Prepare for fun in the sun while protecting your health too! Stay safe by checking three things before you head out:
1. Your cell phone. Open the weather app that comes with the phone. Check all of the following:
Hourly forecast: While this can change by the minute, if storms are in the forecast, create a shelter plan before you roam around in nature.
Air quality: While there is an air quality score, the app translates the details. If it says “good,” you are good to go. If the rating says “fair” or “poor,” read the details and follow the advisories.
UV index: After dark, the index will say “0,” but during the day it will be higher. During sunlit hours, apply sunscreen before going out, and re-apply every two hours if your plans involve water or sweating.
Wind: Look at windspeed. 5-15 mph is generally not worrisome, although you should wear eye protection, such as sunglasses, especially if you will be in sandy areas. If the windspeed is higher, consider the safety of your activity.
Humidity: In Florida, seeing humidity upward of 70% is a regular occurrence. Humid environments, just like dry environments, require greater hydration.
Weather alerts: Consider turning them on for your location, as your phone can provide your advanced alerts to seek shelter even before you see the sky change.
Beyond the weather app: If your plans call for the beach, check the alerts section on visitbeaches.org. It will provide a heads up on conditions like red tide, rip tide and jellyfish.
2. Your hydration. Proper hydration helps prevent serious conditions like passing out or heat stroke. Thirst, however, may not be an accurate signal. Instead, aim to take a sip of water every 15 minutes.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommend 11 cups of water for women, and 16 cups of water for men each day. Most reusable water bottles measure in ounces. That would be 88 ounces for women and 128 for men. You may need more if you are exercising or playing outdoor sports. While flavored water is still hydrating, caffeinated beverages and alcohol may cause dehydration instead.
3. Do a wound check. If you have open blisters, any wounds or scrapes, keep them out of the water (especially seawater)! Vibrio bacteria live in ocean waters. This can lead to very serious and sometimes fatal infections. Your tetanus (tDAP) vaccination will not protect you from this bacteria.
Before you head out, check your phone, grab your water bottle, do a wound check and, of course, bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Prepare for fun in the sun while keeping yourself and loved ones healthy!
Meet your contributor:
Dr. Meredith Butulis is an Assistant Professor at the State College of Florida, licensed Sport/Orthopedic Physical Therapist, Certified Exercise Physiologist, Strength & Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer, and Yoga/Pilates Instructor practicing since 1998. She is the creator of the ISSA Fitness Comeback Coaching Certification, author of the Mobility | Stability Equation Books, and host of The Fitness Comeback Coaching Podcast. Learn more on IG @Dr.MeredithButulis or visit Http://MeredithButulis.com.
Podcast host: Fitness Lifestyle for Busy People
Author: Mobility | Stability Equation
LinkedIn: Meredith Butulis