The calendar may point towards the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean hot weather is gone. In fact, the Charlotte area will experience a few more days of warm weather – some days reaching 90 degrees – before summer bids a final farewell.

So, if you walk, run or exercise outdoors, that means taking a few extra precautions.

“Only fifteen minutes into a run, a person’s body temperature could be as high as 5° F above normal and continuing could bring on fatigue and heat illness,” according to the American Council on Exercise website.

If you plan to use Mother Nature as an exercise backdrop, here are tips to keep in mind:

Modify – Although you can’t change the weather, you can change the time of day you exercise. Consider moving your workout to early morning or late evenings, as opposed to a lunchtime run.

Hydrate – Increase your water intake. Staying hydrated can help avoid heat stroke and heat stress. During exercise, the body needs to be replenished, and water is the best way to do that. Include sports drinks that contain electrolytes, but keep alcohol and caffeine to a minimum; they can accelerate dehydration.

Lighten Up – When temperatures soar, wear lightweight clothing. The theory that heavy clothing promotes more sweat and results in more weight loss is a myth. Exercise is always better when you dress comfortably.

Respect the elements – When exercising outdoors, two essentials to always have — sunscreen and sunglasses. While it’s true that darker hues — African Americans, for example — are fortunate to not burn as easily a Caucasians, that’s not a reason to avoid sunscreen, which protects the skin from cancer-causing rays. Like sun block, sunglasses provide much-needed protection for the eyes on hot, sunny days.

Until next time, I wish you joy, wellness and good health.

Sondra E. Z. Hines is an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor, Zumba instructor, workshop presenter and motivational speaker. A former adjunct professor, she has 15-plus years as a fitness instructor...