It is easier to prevent heat illness than to treat it once symptoms develop. To minimize your risk of developing heat cramps, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Do not drink alcohol or beverages with caffeine before exercising since they increase the rate of dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids before and during exercise and replace lost electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium with food or a sports drink.
Staying hydrated helps, but it’s also important to guard against overheating:
- Avoid exercising or working during the hottest time of day: If you regularly exercise, do so closer to sunrise or sunset, especially during the summer.
- Acclimatize to heat: If you are going to exercise in hot weather, acclimate to the heat for about a week before starting intense exercise.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing: Clothing that is lightweight and fits loosely is recommended. You can also invest in clothes that wick moisture from your skin to the outer layer of the clothing, where it can evaporate more easily. Brands like COOLMAX, Drymax, Smartwool, and polypropylene all have this property.