5 Tips for Exercising Safely in Hot Weather
1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
We know staying hydrated is important, but it's especially crucial when working out in warmer temps. The warmer the temps, the greater the chance for dehydration. Ensure that you're drinking regularly while outdoors and continuing to do so even after you're indoors. Here’s a good rule of thumb: Drink 8 ounces of fluids for every half-hour of activity. Water is a good choice because it moves quickly through your digestive track and into your tissues. Sweat has electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and calcium. If you’re sweating heavily or exercising for more than 60 minutes, your body can become depleted of those things. Foods like strawberries, watermelon, yogurt, or even a fruit smoothie can help you to refuel and rehydrate with electrolytes.
2. Time It Right.
If you’re heading outside to get your sweat on, make sure to watch the weather forecast and try to avoid the hottest times of the day - usually between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Exercise in the early morning or late evening, when it's likely to be cooler outdoors. It’s ideal to hold off on exercise if the temperature is 80 degrees (or higher) and the humidity is at 80 percent. If possible, exercise in shady areas, or you can even do a workout in the pool. Swimming laps or pool running can give you a great workout, while helping you to stay cool.
3. Dress Appropriately.
When exercising in heat, what you wear matters. Wear breathable, lightweight, and light-colored workout attire that allows your sweat to evaporate, and include a hat or some sort of sun-blocking apparel. Look for words like "breathable," "moisture-wicking," and "mesh" on the label to up your chance of staying cool, dry, and comfortable. Don’t forget the SPF! For all skin-exposed areas, sunscreen is a must and should be reapplied every hour or two while outdoors.
4. Listen To Your Body.
Even if you take the utmost precaution, you may still be at risk for overheating so don't forget to listen to your body. Exercising in hot, humid weather can rapidly raise your body's core temperature, putting you at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion to watch out for include weakness, headache, dizziness, and profuse sweating. If you feel any of these symptoms, stop immediately and get yourself into a cool and shady area.
5. Less Is More.
You may have an exercise schedule that you want to stick to, but there's no harm in modifying your plans to accommodate the weather and how your body feels. If you normally run - jog or walk. If you’re a brisk walker, try slowing it down. Remember that even a 20-minute workout has positive health effects. It’s the number of days you exercise that matters most. Frequency of days far outweighs the amount of time of any given exercise session.