Outdoor exercise during extreme heat dangerous for the inexperienced - East Valley Tribune: Weather

Outdoor exercise during extreme heat dangerous for the inexperienced

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Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012 3:45 pm | Updated: 8:37 am, Tue Aug 14, 2012.

Sometimes mixing sun and fun isn’t a good idea.

With an excessive heat warning extended for the Phoenix area through Sunday, local agencies were prompted to advise residents that outdoor exercise during the summer is not for the inexperienced.

“If you are not prepared to hike one of these mountains, you shouldn’t be on it,” said Capt. Jonathan Jacobs, a Phoenix Fire Department spokesman.

So far this year, fire department mountain rescue teams have recorded 117 heat-related incidents, according to Jacobs. That averages out to mountain rescues every two days, Jacobs added.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning Wednesday to last until 8 p.m. Sunday. Temperatures reached 113 degrees early Wednesday afternoon, which tied the record high temperature for Aug. 8, according to the weather service.

The late-afternoon temperature eventually crawled to 114 degrees, breaking the record.

Afternoon temperatures are expected to range from 112 to 115 degrees until Sunday, according to The National Weather Service. The service also urges residents to take extra precautions, like only doing extraneous activities in the morning and evening.

Hydration is also important.

Jacobs recommended that hikers or anyone planning to do exercise or activities at parks or mountain preserves drink plenty of water: about 32 ounces for every hour in the heat, not mentioning nearly a gallon of water needed before you go out in the heat.

Light, loose cotton clothing, proper shoes, a hat, granola or other snacks, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a first aid kit are among “basic” gear Jacobs said everyone out on the mountain should have with them.

“Even if you plan ahead, in preparing for a summer hike, you can still run into an accident,” Jacobs said.

Some of the mistakes people make, according to Jacobs, when toughing the harsh heat include going to a mountain you don’t have a map to, are not in physical shape for, or are not familiar with.

He also sees people who haven’t hydrated properly beforehand, and simply “thinking you’re going to go out and do well” without being cautious.

“We want people to go outside and we want people to enjoy stuff, but we want them to exercise a lot of common sense,” Jacobs said.

For more tips on how to stay cool during the weekend’s excessive heat, visit www.phoenix.gov/humanservices.

• Diana Martinez is freelancing this summer for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Reach her at thedianamartinez@gmail.com.

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