With summer in full force, more and more people are heading outside for exercise. Whether swimming a few laps in the pool, hitting the beach for a game of volleyball or simply working on the yard – you can safeguard against injuries by following a few simple steps.

•    It might seem obvious, but many people forget the most basic protection – sunscreen.  Morning and late afternoon mark the best time to for extensive outdoor activity. Some fitness specialists suggest relying on your shadow. If it’s shorter than your actual height, then the sun likely is too strong.

•    Hydration is key to avoiding heat cramps. Try to drink at least 12 ounces of water before heading outdoors. Also, drink a sufficient amount of fluids during and after the workout. If legs and arms stiffen up easily, switch to tonic water. The quinine helps keep muscles loose.

•    Eat the right foods to fuel the body. Before heading outdoors, try to stick to snacks heavy in healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and proteins. Peanuts, a dried fruit bar, avocado and crackers, tuna salad, etc. pump the body full of energy for a day in the heat. 

•    Don’t overstrain muscles. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about the aches and pains that might come later. Make sure to stretch before engaging in activity. Just as important, use a hot and cold pack to soothe muscles after you’re done in the sun.

•    Make sure to take breaks. When the body gets extremely overheated, there’s always the chance for a stroke. Oftentimes, people don’t realize how physically exhausted they are until it’s too late. Try to give yourself occasional pauses from the action. Seek shade, sip on fluids and let the body recharge.

Do you have any tips or tricks for staying safe when outdoors? Let us know.