Exercising outdoors this time of year is very popular. Summer is coming and there will be more people riding bikes, rollerblading, running, walking and enjoying a number of outside activities to get a workout. But, if you exercise outdoors there are some safety tips that will help protect you from some dangers.

You should run, walk or bicycle with a friend and avoid isolated and poorly lit areas. If you use a route that others use or you go with a friend when working out you’ll be less likely to be a victim of foul play. Always let someone know what route you’re taking and when you expect to return. Carry phone change and identification. Don’t wear headphones, they make you less aware of traffic sounds, dogs, approaching strangers and can cause problems with your equilibrium. Dress to be seen by traffic and follow pedestrian laws.

Being seen is important while bike riding. During the day a bike flag will help drivers notice you. A whistle will help to warn drivers if you need to get their attention. At night you’ll need reflectors, white or yellow for the front and red for the back. You can also put them on you pedals. Most state laws call for lights on the front and back if you’re riding during the night. Halogen lights and rechargeable batteries are best.

When jogging, walking and cycling at night or during the day, you should wear brightly colored clothes that are different from the landscape. Yellow is good because it never blends in. Red is great and Day-Glo orange will definitely be seen.

The weather will be getting warmer in a few months. When the weather changes, you don’t have to stop running or exercising but you should try to acclimate yourself to the changes. It’s best to get started with your workout before the weather turns.

If you’re going to work out outside you should wear sunglasses. Everybody needs sunglasses, and not just in the summertime. Exposure to ultraviolet light over the years can damage the lenses of the eye. Any sunglasses are better than no sunglasses. Here is what you should look for in a pair of sunglasses.

The tint is not what blocks ultraviolet light. It’s the special chemicals added when the lenses are made. Brown or amber tinted lenses block the sun’s rays best but they sometimes distort your vision. Gray and green lenses don’t block as much ultraviolet light but they don’t distort your vision. Wraparound frames are good, they block light above and below the eyes, but they shouldn’t block your side vision. Your sunglasses should be dark enough so you don’t see your eyes in a mirror.

Plastic lenses are light but glass lenses don’t scratch as easily. Mirrored lenses offer extra protection against glare but scratches are a problem. Double gradient lens sunglasses are darker at the top and the bottom. These glasses are good for sports such as tennis and skiing.

These glasses are not good for highly reflective sports such as bicycling and water sports. Everyone’s sunglasses needs are different but everyone needs sunglasses. If you have special problems you should see a professional.

If you work out outdoors your body usually has a chance to get acclimated to hot weather but you still need to drink plenty of water throughout the day and take it easy on those days when temperatures are extreme.

Water is the best liquid you can drink before, during and after a workout. You should drink small amounts of water at 10 to 20 minute intervals. The body doesn’t store water very well, so if you drink a lot of it at one time your body will just get rid of it.

Read your body, if it’s running out of energy or it seems affected by the heat, stop. You don’t want to stop working out just because it’s hot, but you should use a little common sense when working out in hot weather.

Drinking water during your workout helps to increase your blood volume, which will increase cardiac output. Cardiac output is the amount of blood being pumped during each heartbeat. The more blood your heart pumps with each heartbeat the more nutrients are transported throughout the body.

These nutrients provide energy for work. Many people run out of steam during an exercise session, because they don’t replace water lost through exercise.

Studies show that drinking water before, during and after a workout increases energy production. This is true during hot and cold weather. Don’t wait until you become thirsty — by then it’s too late and your body will start to fatigue. As the humidity rises, adjust your workout even if you’re in good shape. If you’re overweight, slow down your workout pace. Your extra body fat and the heat will make your body work overtime.

Whether you’re riding a bike, running, walking or skating, you should ask yourself have I taken all the steps I need to make my outdoor workout safe. Use a little common sense and make your outdoor workout safe.

If you have a fitness question or concern you would like addressed write to “Tips to be Fit” P.O. Box 53443 Philadelphia, PA 19105 or tipstobefit@gmail.com. Or call (215) 387-3081. If you’ve missed an article of “Tips to be Fit” go to www.phillytrib.com and search “Tips to be Fit.”

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