Exercising outside during the summer months can be difficult as the temperature rises. When the sun is shining brightly, even heat-loving, sun-seeking exercisers can feel overheated.
Here are my top tips to help you stay active comfortably in the hot months of Summer:
Choose your exercise wisely.
Choose an activity that will not cause you to overheat. Swimming, water aerobics, and other pool activities, as well as walking in the shallow end of the pool, can keep you active while keeping you cool. Indoor workout programs/classes and gyms often keep the AC pumping to keep people cool while their body temperatures increase.
Exercise early or late in the day.
Working out in the morning or evening allows you to avoid the warmest time of the day, which is around 2 p.m. It's also worth noting that your chances of being sunburned are most around noon, when the sun is at its brightest.
On a hot day, water is your greatest friend for staying hydrated; however, if you're going to be active for more than 60 minutes, you might want to consider a sports drink. When working out for lengthy periods of time, especially in the heat, sports drinks are essential because they include potassium and electrolytes that can rehydrate and replenish your body.
Wear the right clothes.
Dark colors tend to absorb heat, so choose light colors to prevent that extra heat. Clothing that is heavy and tight-fitting will also heat you up, so keep it loose and air will be able to travel more freely over your skin, allowing you to stay cool.
Know when to take it easy, especially if you're visiting a hot and humid area you're unfamiliar with. It's likely that you won't be able to exercise at the same intensity as usual, and that's fine. If you regularly run, try walking or jogging instead. Slow down if you're walking. Gradually increase the pace and duration of your workout as your body adjusts to the heat.
Don’t forget the sun-block!
Even if the labels advertise sweat proof and waterproof promises that are hours longer, reapply every two hours. Several of these "long-lasting" claims are currently being investigated. Sunburn accelerates the aging of your skin and raises your chances of developing skin cancer. Another smart approach to reduce sun exposure is by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
Keep track of your hydration levels.
Checking the color of your urine is a useful technique to see if you're hydrating appropriately. You're well hydrated if it's pale yellow (think a light lemonade). Drink extra if it's darker (approaching the color of apple juice). Remember: if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!
Stay in the shade.
If possible, stay in the shade when you’re working out.
Know your limits.
Pay attention to your body and if you begin to feel dizzy, nauseous, or tired, give yourself a break. Taking some time off for rest is better than overdoing your workout and getting sick or injured and having to stop working out altogether.
Know the signs of a heat stroke.
Heat stroke is a serious threat that can be fatal. Symptoms include: