Living in South Florida during the summer months can pose a challenge while trying to exercise outdoors. The heat and humidity can make activity difficult, or even dangerous if you do not pay attention to your body’s reaction to the increased temperatures. The following tips can help you to stay safe, and keep cool while participating in your favorite sports.
- Get out Early or Late: Outdoor temperatures reach their highs in the mid afternoon hours, so it is best to avoid prolonged physical activity at this time. The morning temperatures are usually 10 degrees cooler and more conducive to exercise.
- Stay Hydrated: During the summer months we tend to perspire more to help cool the core temperature. It is important to replace lost fluids to prevent dehydration, which can lead to heat related illness. It is recommended to drink continuously, before, during and after activity. Using a sports drink that contains electrolyte also helps if you tend to sweat profusely.
- Cover up: Keeping the sun off of your skin not only prevents sun burns but also helps to keep you cooler. By wearing clothing with sufficient coverage, and moisture wicking materials, the perspiration is drawn away from the skin which aids in cooling. Be sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF greater than 30 on exposed skin, and reapply often as sweat will wash sunscreen off of your skin.
- Pay Attention: If you start to feel light headed or dizzy during exercise, you may be starting to feel the effects of heat related illness. It is best to stop activity at this point and seek a cool spot to relax and hydrate. If you continue to exercise and you stop perspiring completely, you have reached a dangerous point and should seek professional attention immediately.
Steven L. Bernstein PT,OMT
Everyone has heard of arthritis, but not everyone actually knows what it is. The medical definition of Arthritis is “inflammation of a joint”, so a basic understanding of anatomy is required to understand the actual pathology.
A “joint” is a part of the body where bones connect to one another for the purpose of movement. The surfaces of the bones are covered with a smooth slick cushioned layer of tissue called cartilage. This tissue is very strong and resilient but it does degenerate over time and it is prone to injury with traumatic stress. The joint is surrounded by another layer of tissue called the joint capsule. The capsule creates a barrier around the joint and helps to produce lubricating fluid for the surfaces of the joint.
As the body ages, certain joints will “wear out” faster than others. The cartilage on the surface of the bones will loose its thickness until eventually one is left with bone on bone contact. This is known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) or Osteoarthritis. The boney surfaces do not tolerate the compression created at the joint as well as when healthy cartilage is present, so the surfaces become inflamed. Inflammation is a chemical process created by the body in the presence of tissue breakdown. This can lead to swelling, redness, warmth and pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a different type of joint pathology that typically affects multiple joints of the body simultaneously. The joint breakdown with this type of problem is not from wear and tear but rather due to an autoimmune reaction in the body. This type of arthritis affects both the cartilage and the surrounding soft tissues. It leads to the same symptoms as DJD but progressively cause joint deformity. This pathology also may occur in younger individuals.
A number of diagnostic tools and treatments are available for arthritis. See your physician if you develop joint pain.
by Steven L. Bernstein PT, OMT