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Do you ever struggle with maintaining your workout routine during the hot summer months? Not too long ago I moved to the Midwest where it gets very hot in the summer.
Due to the heat, I really need to plan my workout routine around the weather. Some days it is just too hot to exercise outdoors.
If you are anything like me, then you love to be outside in the sun as much as possible. Exercising outdoors during the summer can be wonderful but you certainly need to take some extra precautions.
The summer heat can be a real problem if you are not careful. Especially in areas with extreme heat and humidity. After my move, I’ve learned a few things about working out in the heat.
Here are 6 Easy ways to keep you cool while working out in the heat:
Select the right time of day. During the hot months, check the weather forecast. If there’s a heat advisory, take that into account as you plan. It is always a good idea to workout in the early morning or later at night when it is typically cooler. Try to avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as it’s the hottest part of the day. Usually the morning is going to be the coolest time to workout.
Acclimate to the heat. If you are going to workout in the heat of the day, then make sure you work up to it. Start out by exercising in the heat for only a few minutes each day gradually working up to the amount you can tolerate. Also, take it a little slower than you would normally as the heat will wear you down. Signs of increased tolerance include breaking into a sweat more quickly, and your sweat being more diluted or watery.
Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water all throughout the day; don’t wait for your workout to begin drinking water. Make sure you drink plenty of water well before and then after any exercise so you remain well hydrated. Consider drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water a couple of hours before exercising in hot temperatures. Then take another 6-8 ounces for every 15-20 minutes of exercise. You might consider taking electrolytes, too, as you obviously sweat more when it’s hot.
Wear loose, light-colored and heat wicking fabrics. Dark colors absorb the heat and can make you hotter. However, the light color will help reflect heat and cotton material will help with evaporation of sweat and keep your body cooler. There are also a lot of heat wicking fabrics available that are designed to keep you cool. Keep your clothes loose to allow for more airflow to circulate over your skin which will keep you cooler.
Stay out of direct sunlight. If you can, choose a shaded pathway or trail that will keep you out of the direct sun. This could be the path you take in or to the park or maybe even driving to a wooded area for a hike. And it’s a bonus if you can workout near water. It’s summertime so mix it up!
Practice Precooling. Take a cold shower or drink an icy beverage just before your workout. A recent study found that this clearly improved performance. There are also cooling devices (cooling vest, ice glove) that can be worn. I know that I personally love to take a nice cold shower after a hot workout.
Be sure to listen to your body:
Be sure to listen to your body and stop immediately if you are feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous and take steps to cool down. Some quick cool off tricks:
- Run cold water over your forearms to help reduce your body temperature. Many public parks have drinking fountains and/or bathrooms with running water where you can do this.
- Spray cold water on your skin while fanning air on it; as the water evaporates, your body temperature will drop.
- Apply an ice pack or cooling neck wrap to your neck, forearms, etc.
As you can see, it is possible to continue exercising outdoors during the hot summer months. And your workouts can be very rewarding if you take some precautions for the heat.
As noted above, selecting the best time of day and staying hydrated are two key elements to exercising in the heat. Also, be sure to listen to your body and not overdo it. I am confident that if you will take these 6 tips into account then you, too, will have a successful workout in the heat.