10 Tips for exercising in the heat

With lingering pandemic risks, many of us are still opting to exercise outside rather than risk visiting a crowded gym, but with the heat of summer at its peak, simply walking outside can have us breaking a sweat. If you’re looking to exercise outdoors during the summer, these ten tips will help you stay cool while you stay active.

Skip the big meal 

It takes energy and blood to digest food, creating more heat in the body. Keep yourself cool by waiting at least an hour after eating to workout and several if it’s a big meal.

Protect your skin

The skin is the body’s natural cooling system, so it’s important to treat your skin properly when exercising outdoors. Wear loose clothing and a hat, apply sunscreen, and pick shady routes to avoid sun exposure.

Wear breathable materials

Choose material that wicks sweat and promotes airflow. Avoid direct sunlight and change out of sweaty clothing when you get home.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Water is your best friend when it comes to exercising in the heat. Prepare for a workout by drinking water throughout the day and keep water on hand during your session. Experts recommend drinking half a liter to a liter of water for every hour exercising in the heat. If you’re doing something particularly intense, get a sports drink to replenish sodium and electrolytes.

Opt to heat-friendly exercise 

Certain workouts are more appropriate than others for heat. If you live somewhere with hot summer temperatures, consider trying swimming or yoga when the weather heats up.

Work your way up

If you’re used to exercising in the heat, your tolerance for warm workouts will be much higher and your body will generally be more used to the additional stress. However, if you’re new to a hot climate, you should take it much more slowly. The same goes for anyone new to an exercise regimen. If you’re just starting a workout routine, be especially cautious doing so in hot weather.

Switch up your workout times

Even if you’re not a morning person, during the summer it might be worth it to carve out early hours for a cooler workout. Avoid the midday sun and if you must exercise in the heat, shorten your usual routine to adjust for the higher temperature.

Consider humidity

Although it may seem counterintuitive, dry heat is actually better for a workout than humid heat because it allows your sweat to evaporate more quickly. Check heat and humidity metrics before you head out and adjust your water intake and exercise intensity accordingly.

Acknowledge your limits

The body cannot perform as well in extreme heat as in regular temperatures. Listen to your body and recognize when it’s too hot to be working out. This is especially important for children, the elderly, and those with preexisting health conditions.

Know signs of risk 

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are far more common as temperatures begin to climb. Signs of heat exhaustion include fatigue, extreme thirst, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, muscle cramping, and lightheadedness. If you or someone you are with is exhibiting these symptoms, move them to the shade immediately and have them slowly sip water. If they are exhibiting signs of heatstroke such as confusion, vomiting, seizures, cardiovascular collapse, or lack of sweating, you need to get them to a hospital immediately.

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