Best Times of the Day to Exercise During the Summer
One of the most common phrases you’ll hear from a cardiologist is “get regular exercise.” That’s because heart doctors know that very few things are better for your health than regular daily exercise.
However, there are some times when it might be a good idea to shift your regular exercise routine around. Summer is one of those times. While it’s still good to get exercise daily, it’s also important to make sure you’re doing it at the times that are best for your heart.
How High Heat Affects Your Heart
Cardiology teaches us that high heat can badly stress your heart. That’s because the body’s natural heat regulation mechanisms either force your heart to work harder or deplete resources that your heart depends on. Some medications and health conditions can make this even harder on the heart.
One of your body’s basic strategies for eliminating heat is radiation: just letting the heat from the body naturally diffuse into the air. However, to get that heat into the air, the body reroutes blood to the skin and pumps the blood faster. Turning over the blood faster increases the speed of heat transfer. On top of exercise, this can put dangerous strain on your heart if it’s already weakened because of injury, disease, or congenital conditions.
Your body’s other main strategy for eliminating heat is sweat. Sweat evaporates off your skin, cooling you off. However, sweat can also be dangerous for your heart. First, there’s the risk of dehydration. Dehydration is as bad for your heart as for the rest of your body. But sweat isn’t just taking water from your body. It’s also taking sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes that your heart depends on to function.
The problem can be even worse if your blood vessels are narrowed by cholesterol. Your heart might need to work even harder to keep up the heat exchange, and your blood pressure can rise. Some heart medications can also worsen heat effects. Beta-blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, and ACE inhibitors can all increase risks during high heat. However, it’s better to keep taking your medication and control your heat exposure.
When to Schedule Your Exercise
First, it’s always important to talk to your cardiologist about your exercise program whenever you start a new exercise regimen or are exercising under new conditions.
Second, remember to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Although many recommend that you avoid the hours of 10-2, when solar radiation is at its peak, it’s not that simple in Denver during the summer.
Mornings are the best time to exercise outside. Getting up and out at dawn will give you the coolest temperatures of the day. Though it will be sunny out in the morning, it might not hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit until noon.
Evenings, on the other hand, are not always good for exercising. Although peak sun may occur earlier, the heat can keep climbing until 4 pm or later. And with the long summer days, the heat might not fall below 90 until 8 pm or later.
Cardiologists That Care
If you are looking for a cardiologist who cares about your overall health, contact South Denver Cardiology Associates. Not only do we offer a full range of services in clinical cardiology and diagnostic testing, but we also have education and resources that help you maintain your heart health year-round.
To get in touch with a heart doctor who cares about more than your heart, please call 303-4-744-1065 or request an appointment online.
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As with any health concerns, your specific treatment program should be discussed thoroughly with your primary care physician as well as any specialists who may need to be consulted – like a cardiologist.Sign Up