Walking Safety During Heat Waves

We’ve been experiencing a heat wave here in California with daily temperatures well over 100°.   I mentioned this elsewhere on my website, but I just want to reiterate it here.  Here are some tips for walking — and staying safe — during a heatwave:

  • Check the weather forecast BEFORE you head out on your walk and dress appropriately.
  • Whenever possible, go walking in the very early morning hours.  The sun’s usually up this time of year by 5:30 or 6:00 am.
  • Be aware of the Air Quality Index for the day for your area, and don’t go out for a walk if it’s in the “unhealthy” range.
  • Take a cell phone with you wherever you go, in case of an emergency.  And make sure the battery has a full charge.  Whenever you can, bring a buddy with you.  You’ll benefit from the exercise AND the company.
  • Stay hydrated.  Bring bottled water with you wherever you go.  In extreme heat the body can lose a lot of water through sweat.
  • Know where you’re going.  Even when you’re going to some place new, it’s always best to get as much information on it as you can before you go there so you’re not surprised.  You don’t want to get lost when it’s hot outside and find yourself in a place with no water and no cell phone coverage.
  • Don’t over exert yourself.
  • Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Hot weather brings out the snakes.  Know how to recognize local snakes, and learn their behavior.  Many snakes regulate their body temperature on hot days by periodically ducking into the shade of a rock or fallen tree branch.  Watch where you’re stepping.  If a snake rattles, give it a wide berth.
  • Don’t take your pets out in the extreme heat.  Their bodies are generally smaller than yours and can overheat and dehydrate more quickly than you do.  Hot asphalt can burn the pads of your dog’s feet.  ((Never leave your pet locked inside a vehicle — even for “a few minutes”.))

Keep walking, but stay safe.