Summer is the perfect time to get outside and have fun. A beautiful summer day can lift your spirits and give you the motivation to get out there and try new activities! Everything is more fun outside, whether you’re swimming, running or cycling. However, summer heat and exercise can be a risky mix if you’re not careful.
Staying hydrated is imperative to a hot day. If you don’t drink enough water, you can get dehydrated and suffer from light-headedness and nausea. If not recognized, dehydration can even result in kidney failure. However, if you drink too much water without replenishing your electrolytes, you can experience hyponatremia – which can lead to confusion, nausea, muscle cramps, and even seizures.
Staying hydrated isn’t the only thing to focus on, remember to keep these in mind when it comes to exercising in the heat:
- The time of day is important. Unless you are training for an event that takes place in the daytime heat, avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s the hottest part of day. Generally, the early morning is the best time to workout, especially if it’s going to be scorcher that day.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing. The lighter color will help reflect heat, and cotton material will help the evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try specially designed, “hi-tech” running shirts and shorts. They are often made from material meant to keep you cool.
- Sunscreen is a must. It’s important to protect your skin – you can get burned and suffer sun damage to your skin even on cloudy days.
- Stay hydrated. Before you go out, drink a glass or two of water. Carry a bottle of water or even a hydration pack such as the CamelBak. Take a drink every 15 minutes, even when you’re not thirsty. When you’re done with your workout, have a few more glasses of water.
- Replenish your electrolyte and salt intake while exercising.
- Choose shaded trails or pathways that keep you out of the sun.
- Check the weather forecast before you start your workout. If there’s a heat advisory you might want to take your workout indoors. These pollutants can damage your lungs.
As always, it’s important to listen to your body. Stop immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous. Summer time is a great time to beat the heat and check out your local pool! Water exercise is a great alternative in hot weather – water keeps your body cool and reduces how difficult you perceive your workout to be.
Enjoying the great outdoors is a must in the summer months, but it’s important to keep your safety in mind and know your limits!
Decker, Joe. “8 Tips for Exercising in Summer Heat.” Active. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2016.