Tips For Working Out Safely In the Heat
There’s something magical about exercising al fresco. Maybe it’s the combination of fresh air and sunshine, plus that extra push to keep going for your adoring fans (er, random passerby).
Taking your workouts outdoors is part of summer fun, but it’s also important to take extra precautions to stay safe as temperatures climb. The last thing you want is a heat-related illness to sideline your fitness goals! Here’s how to take care of yourself during the dog days of summer…
Go early or later
Noon to 3 pm is the hottest time of the day, and it’s no joke: The sun’s peak can add as much as 20 degrees or more (!) to the actual air temperature. Schedule your exercise sesh earlier in the morning or later in the evening, or at least opt for a shady spot if you prefer a midday workout.
Cool off first
Before you even head outside, jump into the shower and turn on the cold water. You don’t have to make it a whole affair with shampoo and conditioner — just rinse your body for a minute or two. “Pre-cooling” has even been proven to help increase your body’s capacity for prolonged exercise at higher intensity levels (particularly for cardio). Plus, if you’re working out in the early morning, the cold water will wake you up so you’re alert and ready to go.
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Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water! Once your thirst mechanism kicks in, you’re already slightly dehydrated. Plus, the more you sweat, the more fluid you need to replace — so it’s important to be proactive about your water intake in the summer.
Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces throughout the day. Sipping slowly and consistently is more beneficial than chugging right before you’re about to exercise. Plus, a stomach full of fluid isn’t exactly comfortable. Make it a habit by keeping your water bottle on hand, and during your workout, carry it with you and try to drink a cup every 15-20 minutes.
Not crazy about the idea of dragging a water bottle along with you? You’ve got options — and they’re all better than being parched! There’s running belts you can attach to your waist, or backpacks/vests that stay close to your body. These allow you to sip without even slowing down.
Consider your clothing
Light-colored, sweat-wicking clothes are your best friend for beating the heat. Materials such as polyester and nylon will be more comfortable than cotton, which tends to get soggy and heavy. It’s also wise to avoid dark colors, since they absorb heat. The added bonus of brighter colors like white, yellow and orange is that cars can spot you more easily, adding another layer of safety to your workout.
Even if it’s overcast outside, you can still get a sunburn — which isn’t exactly conducive to a great workout (ouch). A sunburn also decreases your body’s ability to cool itself. Before heading out the door, slather on some waterproof sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher and make sure to reapply every hour. For extra protection, a visor or hat is also a great idea. Trucker hats win bonus points for breathability!
Listen to your body
Staying safe ultimately depends on a number of factors, from the type of exercise you’re doing to the humidity levels to your personal heat tolerance. The most important thing is to listen to your body and know your limits. “No pain, no gain” is not your rallying cry here!
If you experience the warning signs of heat exhaustion — fatigue, dizziness, extreme thirst, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, muscle cramping and/or lightheadedness — it’s critical to stop what you’re doing. Get inside or find shade and then cool down any way you can, whether it’s dumping water on your face or misting yourself with a spray bottle. Prioritize cooling your head, face, arm pits and groin first. Heatstroke is a far more serious situation that requires immediate medical attention. If you suspect heatstroke, always call 911.
Outdoor fitness at CA
If you’re looking for your next fun outdoor workout, check out CA’s outdoor aqua fitness and yoga classes. We’ve got plenty of exciting options to keep you active six days a week. Yoga and aqua fitness are heat-friendly choices, meaning they’re great for your body, mind and mood without being too high-intensity in the hot weather.
Here’s to a safe and healthy summer!