BETHESDA, MD—National Naval Medical Center’s health experts recently advised sailors of the risks associated with strenuous exercise in the summer heat, according to a Navy report.

Lauren Thomas, a weight management coordinator at the hospital’s health and wellness center, said in the report that some sailors go to extreme measures to obtain “beach-worthy” bodies.

“A person may become inspired to begin running five miles a day, five times a week,” she said. “Even though they have good intentions, this sudden increase in activity is very dangerous and increases risk of injury.”

Thomas said it is important to take things slowly, especially in the heat, when starting a new exercise regimen.

The benefits of exercise are not only for physical appearance, but also for overall health and wellness, including heart health, she said. A lack of physical activity can promote high blood pressure, and high blood pressure can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke. Regular exercise expands arteries, making it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body with less pressure.

“The more you weigh, the higher your blood pressure can go,” Thomas said. “Regular exercise helps lower blood pressure and assist weight loss.”