General Wellness

Managing Crazy Summer Conditions

June was the driest month on record in Minnesota and the third hottest, and many outdoor activities across the state have been canceled this summer due to smoke and dangerous air quality from Canadian wildfires.

You might be wondering: Can I exercise on these hot, smoky summer days? Is there any safe amount of exposure? Should I even go outside?

“If you are pregnant or have an underlying health condition, we encourage you to be cautious about outdoor exercise when it’s hot as well as exposure to poor air quality. This is a great time of year to move inside to the gym if you have a membership or to find a mall or other large space for a power walk,” said Dr. Staci Biegner.

In general, a heat index—what the weather feels like when actual temperature is combined with humidity—of 103 degrees or higher is considered dangerous for everyone—for pregnant people, this drops to 90 or lower. When Air Quality Index, which you can track at, reaches 101, those who are pregnant should limit outdoor time or wear an N95 mask; an Air Quality Index of 150 is deemed unhealthy for all.

“Early morning is generally the best time for outdoor activity and we encourage you to drink lots of water, wear clothing that wicks moisture and to listen very closely to your body,” Biegner added. “Invite a partner for whatever outdoor activities you’re engaging in so you can monitor each other for signs of potential overheating.”

If you are exercising outside and start to feel sick or overheated, stop to rest in the shade if you can’t get inside right away. You can also look to at-home workouts such as yoga and Pilates, strength training, dancing and even vigorous household chores.


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