Summer poses additional risks to personal trainers and their clients due to heat and heat-related illnesses. In additional to carrying personal trainer insurance, it is crucial to take extra precautions while exercising or training clients in the heat.

These three things increase the possibility of a client developing a heat-related illness:

  • Extra clothing
  • Obesity/overweight
  • Dehydration

Here are some tips to help personal trainers and their clients beat the heat.

Acclimatize

It takes up to 2 weeks for most people to acclimate to the heat. Your clients should slowly introduce themselves to the heat, working up to spending at least 100 minutes in the heat to fully adapt.

One study showed that after just four 30 to 45-minute sessions of intermittent exercise in the heat, most subjects were fully acclimatized and saw improvement in their running capacity. Keep in mind, however, that different people acclimate to the heat at different times. If your clients are relatively young, healthy, or in good shape, they will adapt quicker than older or obese clients.

Know How To Use The Heat Index

The heat index is how hot any given location really feels as the relative humidity rises. Exercising in a hot, humid environment is particularly stressful on the body because the large amount of water in the air reduces the amount of evaporation of sweat and decreases the efficiency of your body's cooling system.

You can gauge the risk of heat exposure on any given day and take extra precautions when the heat index rises.

Download the Heat Safety Tool from OSHA and input the location you plan to train at. Both English and Spanish versions are available for Android and iPhone users.

It's important to keep in mind that if you are exercising or running in full sunlight, the heat index values will be increased by 15°F.

Increase Fluid Intake

  • Before exercising - Drink 16 oz 2 hours before exercising.
  • During exercise - Drink about 6 oz every 15-20 minutes. Try to match fluid intake to sweat loss.
  • After exercise - Drink 1 quart per 2 pounds of weight lost during exercise.

Train Yourself to Recognize Heat-Related Illnesses & Symptoms

If you or your client experiences any signs of heat-related illness, act quickly and don't ignore these symptoms. The following are symptoms of heat illness according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

  • Sunburn: Redness and pain of your skin. In severe cases, the skin may swell, you may develop blisters, fever, and headaches.
    • Remove the victim from direct sunlight
    • Apply ointment for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break
    • If blisters break, apply dry sterile dressing
    • Avoid by wearing sunblock of at least 50 spf

  • Heat Cramps: Painful spasms usually in the muscles of legs and abdomen with heavy sweating.
    • Move to a cool, shady, or airconditioned area
    • Loosen clothing
    • Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm
    • Sip water, unless nausea occurs

  • Heat Exhaustion: Heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, clammy skin; thready pulse; fainting and vomiting; seizures; might have normal temperature.
    • Move to a cool, shady, or airconditioned area
    • Lay down and loosen clothing
    • Apply cool, wet cloths
    • Fan with air
    • Sip water, unless nausea occurs
    • If vomiting, seek immediate medical attention

  • Heat Stroke/Sunstroke: High body temperature (106° F or higher); hot, dry skin; rapid and strong pulse; possible unconsciousness. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 or get to a hospital immediately.
    • While waiting for emergency assistance, move to a cool, shady, or airconditioned area
    • Reduce body temperature with a cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution.
    • Remove clothing, use fans and air conditions.
    • If temperature rises again, repeat process.
    • Do NOT give fluids People on salt-restricted diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.

Additional Steps to Reduce The Risk of Heat Illness

In addition to wearing light, well-ventilated clothing and applying sunscreen when necessary, you should take the following steps to prevent heat illness in yourself and your clients:

  • Report symptoms of heat illness right away
  • Perform high-intensity workouts during the cooler morning or evening hours and lighter training during the hotter parts of the day.
  • Monitor urine color to ensure that proper hydration is maintained.

Share Your Tips

When designing a fitness program, your top priority is to keep your client safe. If you design a fitness program that injures your client, you could be found liable which is why you need personal trainer insurance.

We hope this list helps you stay safe. Personal trainer insurance protects personal trainers with general and professional liability. To learn more about personal trainer insurance visit us here.

Are you a seasoned personal trainer? How do you train your clients outdoors in the summer? Share with us in the comments.

All insurance policies have conditions, limitations, and exclusions, please refer to the policy for exact coverages.