Depending on where you live, the summer months can add an additional challenge to your exercise routine. Higher than average temperatures and humidity levels can make working out difficult and sometimes dangerous. But you don’t have to let the summer heat scorch your exercise goals. Here are some ways that you can stay safe and still enjoy the outdoors during the summer months.
We hear it time and time again, but staying properly hydrated, especially when you are exercising in extreme temperatures is necessary to avoid dangerous dehydration levels. Our muscles contain more than 75% water, so when our body begins losing water when we exercise we start to experience a decline in energy, strength and overall performance. The best way avoid fatigue, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke is to ensure you are well hydrated before you begin your exercise. Regularly drinking water throughout the day will help keep your body hydrated during your workouts. Drinking 7-10 ounces of water every 20 minutes of your workout will help you stay hydrated and avoid dehydration. Don’t wait until your thirsty to begin drinking water!
Intense heat and sun can wreck havoc on your skin. Protecting your skin will keep you comfortable and also reduce the risk of longterm damage. Use a sweat proof sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and make sure to reapply sunscreen every 45 minutes. Even if its cloudy outside, you still run the risk of getting burned. Sunburns caused by over exposure to the sun can increase your chances for skin cancers, so make sure you lather up!
Time of day
Wanting to work out but need to beat the heat? Choosing to work out first thing in the morning or in the evenings when the temperatures are cooler will help you avoid heat related illnesses. Temperatures start to rise between 10 am and can maintain max temperatures until 4 pm, so make sure you check the weather before heading outdoors. If things heat up too much, bring your workouts inside or stay in the shade.
Wear appropriate clothing
When working out in the heat, choosing materials such as cotton blends will limit moisture absorption will be more breathable than polyester blends. Also, using loose fitting and light colored clothes will keep your skin cool and reduce heat absorption from the sun.
Know the signs
To stay safe when working out in the heat, make sure you know the signs of dehydration and heat stroke, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. Dehydration occurs through a loss of water content and salts in your body, and can happen when your body is overexposed to the sun. Symptoms may include:
- Dry skin
- Dry Mouth
- Increased heart rate and breathing
Heat stroke occurs when your body does not efficiently cool itself and can occur in extreme heat, high humidity or prolonged exposure in the hot sun. Symptoms for heat stroke may include:
- Hot, dry skin
- High Body temperature
- Rapid heartbeat
If you or anyone you are around starts exhibiting symptoms of dehydration or heat stroke, immediate care is strongly recommended.