It is summer time and boy is it hot out there! That doesn’t have to mean skipping outdoor exercise. Protect yourself from the dangers of high heat and humidity during your workout. Use these tips to have fun and stay safe.
Avoid workouts during the hottest part of the day. Whenever possible, plan to exercise before 10:00am or after 2:00pm. The sun is hottest during these times and your risk of sunburn and heat related issues is greatest.
Wear sunscreen – Sunscreen is for everyone, regardless of skin tone. Choose a broad spectrum product with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply liberally to your entire body before you get dressed so you don’t miss any spots. Reapply at least every two hours or more often if you are sweating heavily.
Protect your skin – Use clothing as a complement to your skin protection plan. Sun protective hats and clothing can help you reduce your risk of premature skin aging and cancer related to exposure.
Look for shady spots – If you are lucky enough to live near a park or street lined with trees head there for your sweat session. Let nature’s canopy help keep you cool and block some of the harmful rays of the sun.
Hydrate – Drink plenty of fluids before and after heading out. Dehydration forces your heart to work harder so get in plenty of fluids before you head out. To get a good idea of your hydration level just look at the color of your urine. It should be pale rather than dark yellow. After your workout you want to drink a pint of water for every pound of sweat lost. That means if you 150 pounds (undressed) before your workout and you weigh 148 pounds after your workout, you need 2 pints of water. Don’t forget that fruit counts, too.
Notice how you feel – If you feel light-headed, dizzy, nauseous, faint or have muscle cramps stop. These are warning signs of heat exhaustion. Get to a cool or shady area and take fluids before proceeding carefully.
Summer time is a great time to enjoy outdoor workouts. Just be willing to make some adjustments. Avoid the hottest part of the day and monitor temperatures so you can also avoid periods of high humidity. Choose loose-fitting, light colored clothing for comfort. If your budget allows invest in a few pieces of sun protective clothing as well. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen. Finally, slow down during summer. As temperatures rise, performance often declines a bit. Don’t push yourself so hard that your workout is no longer safe. High temperatures may mean you have to adjust your performance expectations.