In our last post, we talked about heat-related illness and what to look for if you start experiencing the symptoms. In this post, we’ll go into what you can actually do to work out safely in the heat so that you can still pursue your fitness goals without additional risk to your health.
First of all, when it comes to exercising in the heat, there’s a common sense rule that everyone should follow: try to stay cool. If you start to experience symptoms of heat-related illness, get out of the heat and let yourself cool off. Drink water. Mist and fan yourself to bring down your body temperature. Your health is much more important than that run you wanted to go on, so play it safe no matter what!
Now, as long as you’re feeling good and ready to go, here are some ways for you to exercise safely in the summertime heat:
Start out slow. If you’re used to exercising in cooler temperatures, it’s important to get yourself acclimated gradually to avoid injury or overworking yourself. Start by doing an easier workout for the first week or two until you allow youself to get used to the heat. Then, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
Avoid the midday sun. Try to schedule your workouts for the early morning or evening so that you’re exercising during the coolest parts of the day. The sun is generally its hottest from about 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., so avoid exercising during these times unless you’re exercising inside.
Dress appropriately. Get ready for exercise by wearing loose, light-colored clothing, which can help reflect heat and assist in the evaporation of sweat. Cotton is always a great standby, but you may be able to find exercise clothing that features a special fabric that’s designed to keep you cool.
Always protect yourself from the sun. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must, and we definitely recommend putting on a hat too. You can still suffer from sunburn or harmful UV exposure if it’s cloudy out, so make it a habit to wear sun protection every time you go for a run or bike ride.
Stay hydrated from start to finish. Start before your workout with a glass or two of water. Then, as you exercise, sip from a CamelBak water bottle or a CamelBak hydration backpack about every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty. Then, when you’re finished with the workout, have a few more glasses of water to replenish what you’ve lost during exercise.
Also watch your salt and electrolyte intake. Most people get these from electrolyte drinks or sports drinks, but you can also get it from capsules, energy gel, or other exercise snacks.
Stay tuned for more tips on exercising in the heat.