No matter where you reside, summer months can make it difficult to exercise outside. The heat and humidity make any activity difficult and even dangerous.
How Your Body is Affected by Heat
When exercising during hot weather, it puts added strain on your body. You need to be careful, otherwise, you risk suffering a serious heat-related illness.
If the air is also very humid, your body has even more stress because your sweat will not easily evaporate off your skin. This causes the temperature of your body to increase even more.
Under normal circumstances, your body has the ability to adjust itself to withstand the heat. However, the natural cooling systems your body uses could fail if you are exposed to humidity and high temperatures for a long time, sweat profusely and do not drink adequate amounts of fluids to stay hydrated.
The end-result could be suffering a heat-related illness. These illnesses range in severity; they start out mild, but worsen, if not treated.
Ten Exercise Tips to Keep You Safe in the Summer Heat
Know your own medical risks.
Before beginning any exercise plan, you should speak with your doctor to make sure it is okay for you to do so. In addition, there are particular medications and medical conditions that may increase your risk of suffering with a heat-related illness. Be sure to discuss these issues with your physician as well.
Know your level of fitness.
If you are new to exercise or unfit, you need to be even more cautious while working out in heat. Your body could have a lower heat tolerance. When first starting your routine, take frequent breaks and do not start with an intense exercise routine.
Slowly transition from exercising inside to outside.
If you are not used to exercising in the heat, your body will need to adapt. Start easy for a few weeks while your body begins to adapt to the temperature. Then you can gradually increase how long and how intense your workouts are.
Watch your local weather forecast.
Know the temperature and heat alerts for your area. You need to know what temperature to expect for your outdoor activities.
Go out early in the morning or in the evening.
Outdoor temperatures are the highest in the mid-afternoon, so avoiding prolonged physical activity during this time is wise. The early morning temperature is generally ten degrees cooler, making it more favorable for physical activity. You can also exercise in the shade or do water aerobics/pool exercises to stay cooler.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
In order to keep your body’s core temperature cooler when exposed to excessive heat, you will perspire. For this reason, you need to replace the fluids you lose to prevent dehydration. In fact, drinking continuously is recommended. Never wait until you are thirsty to drink, just keep drinking.
If you are planning to work out for more than an hour, one of the Sports drinks containing electrolytes will also help you rehydrate. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, as they can assist in the dehydration process by promoting fluid loss.
Keep your body covered up.
Keeping yourself covered and the sun off your skin will prevent sunburn and keep you cooler. By wearing clothing with adequate coverage and materials that will wick moisture, perspiration is pulled away from your skin. This aids in cooling your body. Wear light-colored clothing, since dark colors actually absorb heat.
Always wear sunscreen on exposed skin.
You need to wear sunscreen that has an SPF that is greater than 30. Reapply the sunscreen often, since your sweat will wash it away.
Pay attention to your body.
If you begin feeling light-headed while exercising, you could be feeling the effects of a heat related illness. Stopping activity if you are feeling this is advisable. Find a cool spot to relax and rehydrate. Should you continue exercising and stop perspiring altogether, you need to seek medical assistance immediately.
If possible, wear a wide-brimmed hat.
Wearing a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat is also helpful to keep the sun off your face.
Heat-related illnesses can be prevented. By taking these ten basic precautions, you can exercise safely even when it is hot and humid outside.