While the saying goes that ‘summer bodies are built in winter’, it is important that you maintain the hype throughout the summer months, getting in the gym between those days out on the beach and impromptu Kopperberg get-togethers. However, the idea of hitting the treadmill in the blistering heat can be as attractive as a drunk man cutting his toenails. This is why we at Simply Gym have put together a few hacks for you to stay cool as a cucumber in sunglasses when exercising this summer.
Though being a sweaty Betty isn’t the best look to sport in the gym, sweating in itself is a cooling mechanism, developed during heat exposure. So, in order to stay cool in the gym, you must sweat your dumbbells off. Ensuring your body is used to training in the heat, it is advisable to get your jacket on for a good 15 minutes before training.
Lose less salt
As you get fitter, you will quickly see that you begin to sweat more, with your body losing fewer precious electrolytes in your sweat. Your body actually learns to hold onto the salts that you require for muscle contractions! How cool is that?
For this reason, we advise that you limit sodium intake during your gym visit, so, not too many sports drinks!
How to keep your body cool
Now that boring science bit is over (Phew!), we move on to the hacks that will cool you right down when working out. While some may be a little unconventional, just remember that Simply Gym is certainly not a catwalk!
- Damp water on your head
Immediately cooling you down, dabbing a bit of water on your head can also override the overheating message your body is sending to your brain. The colder the water, the better!
- Wear clothes that breathe
If you have been to our gym, you will see that people really embrace their individuality, wearing what they need to feel fabulous when hitting the machines and free-weights section. We suggest looking for clothing with synthetic fabrics specifically designed for exercise, such as polyesters, micro-fibres, and ultra-thin wool.
While you may have a nice Pina Colada in mind, the best way to maintain blood volume that is necessary for body cooling is to drink water. Whether you want to add a splash of squash or go wild and bring some soda water, be sure that we at Simply Gym welcome all types of mavericks!
- Use ice
Although a trick that we used to use to irritate our younger siblings and classmates we fancied in school, popping a cube or two of ice down your back can be a great way to instantly cool yourself down, giving you the want to push on and break through the hot flush!
If you are in need of any support in building your summer workout, why not contact us today and speak with one of our amazing trainers?
In the summer time, it’s too darn hot to exercise outside without switching things up a little. Sticking to your usual routine all year around likely won’t cut it comfortably like it did in winter; however it is possible to stay cool in the summer while working out just simply by taking a few extra precautions — and what’s more, doing so may also increase your energy output, too. Even though it’s way more fun than freezing your extremities off, exercising in scorching hot temperatures really isn’t good for us and your body temperature can rise by a whopping 20 degrees during a cardio workout, even if you’re in the shade.
Even though many of us would rather not break a sweat at all, when it comes to working out, moving around outdoors is somewhat more enjoyable than hitting the gym. Indeed, studies have shown that outdoor exercise is shown to leave us happier and more motivated than breaking a sweat at the gym, increasing our levels of enthusiasm and leaving us more likely to repeat the process again. Exercise outdoors also makes us work harder and therefore raise our fitness levels. It’s worth taking advantage of the many benefits that more sunshine during this time of year can bring us.
With this in mind, here are seven super-smart ways to exercise outdoors and stay cool in the process.
1. DO: Start Your Workout With A Slushie
Risking brain-freeze might be worth it when you’re exercising outdoors: Research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in 2010 discovered that when athletes drank a flavored slushie before hitting the treadmill in a hot room, they were able to keep going for an average of 10 minutes longer than when they consumed cold, flavored water. It’s worth noting that the slushies used in the study were frozen sports drinks, rather than the kind of thing you might get from a machine at a convenience store — so opt for a cool isotonic drink (those with added sodium), which will help your body repair itself faster.
2. DO: Time Your Exercise Well
The dog days of summer might be upon us, but that doesn’t mean we have to exercise during the hottest part of the day. If you want to make use of the great weather without drowning your workout gear in sweat and risking your health, just pick your moments carefully. Practicing yoga in the morning before sunrise or after sunset is sensible, as is choosing a workout spot in the shade. It might sound simple, but staying out of the sun as much as possible when exercising is crucial to avoid sun-stroke or heat exhaustion.
3. DON’T: Ignore Your Body’s Signs
You should always look out for any unusual or uncomfortable feelings in your body when you exercise outside. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising in the heat puts additional stress on your body; if you feel sick and dizzy whilst moving in the sun, it may be your body’s way of telling you that your internal thermostat is unable to keep you cool. In other words, you might be at risk of suffering from heat exhaustion, which occurs when your body temperature raises to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C). Key symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling cold, clammy, dizzy or sick, and experiencing headaches or vomiting during or after exercise. This could lead to exercise-associated collapse — that is, feeling extremely lightheaded or fainting right after a workout — so always take a break and cool off in the sun if you start to display any of these symptoms.
4. DO: Try A Wet Workout
Running in the rain not only makes for a dramatic Snapchat story, but will also keep you cooler when exercising outdoors. (And if you live in the UK like me, there’s a high chance that you’ll get caught in the rain during any given "summer" month anyway.) For those of you blessed enough to inhabit a climate that actually warms up during the summer, the sunny season can be the perfect time to take up a new sport in the water (or so I hear). Paddle boarding, canoeing, surfing, swimming, or water aerobics — these all keep your body temperature down in the sun whilst giving you a great workout at the same time.
5. DO: Do The Math To Stay Hydrated
You should never wait until your body displays visible signs of de-hydration to reach for that water bottle during summer. Instead, Men’s Health recommend s using a simple formula to know when to drink water. Before your workout, start drinking water at least 15 minutes prior to any activity and during exercise, try to down eight ounces of water for every 20 minutes you’re moving. Also, don’t forget your urine test to check how up on your hydration levels you are; the clearer your pee, the better. If your urine looks more like iced tea than homemade lemonade, though, then you’re definitely dehydrated.
6. DO: Ice Up
If you can bear it, freezing your legs up before your workout might keep you cool and get you moving quicker. Research from the University of Brighton in England showed that icing your legs pre-workout can improve your performance during sports. Study participants who did this ran, on average, 85 seconds quicker in their 5K during 90-degree heat compared to when they went ice-free, according to Mental Floss.
7. DON’T: Wear Your Winter Workout Gear
It might sound obvious, but moving and grooving in the outdoor heat whilst wearing your heavy winter outfit can be seriously dangerous. (Hello, overheating.) Instead of donning those super-thick yoga pants, instead opt for light, breathable cottons and thin fabric. You might also cool your pulse points with headbands, neck towels and wristbands, which are designed to absorb your sweat whilst staying cool to touch.
Heat and humidity can complicate your efforts when you take your training outdoors. Here are 12 tips to keep you cool and improve your performance on the hottest summer days!
Long days and warm weather are an open invitation to exercise outdoors, but there are extra precautions you have to consider when you no longer have access to AC.
To understand why you need to take precautions in hot conditions, you first need to know a little about how your body functions during exercise in general. The work you do is powered by the calories you eat, which is how you can burn off several hundred calories during a good workout. Heat is a byproduct of exercise, which then must be removed from your body to prevent overheating. Heat is carried to the skin and released with small amounts of water via sweating.
Sweating releases heat, but it’s the evaporation of sweat—not simply sweating itself—that actually cools the body. That’s one reason why using a good fan while sweating can immediately make you feel cooler.
In hot and humid environments, the air is already quite moist, so very little evaporation can occur. Instead of cooling off, heat begins to build in your body, and it could even reach dangerous levels.
High summer temperatures can contribute to a rise in body temperature independent of exercise. Once you begin training outdoors in summer heat, the ambient temperature can make it even more difficult to release body heat. You simply may not be able to sweat (and allow for evaporation) fast enough to keep up with environmental conditions.
Sweating also means that your body loses water to help you stay cool, but that water needs to be replaced. If you lose more than about two percent of your body weight via sweat, it starts to significantly affect your performance and put you at risk of a heat-related illness. It’s important to remember never to restrict water consumption when training outdoors, even if you don’t feel thirsty!
Here are a few simple pointers that will help you stay cool during outdoor activity:
The warm weather is a perfect motivator to get outside, go for a walk, and get off the couch and move around. For many people, exercising outdoors certainly feels better than being stuck inside due to the bitter cold. But when summer goes from warm to hot, exercising could be risky — unless you’re prepared.
Staying active, even exercising in hot weather, can be done safely, but you really have to pay attention to the environment and your body to make sure a good thing doesn’t go bad.
Here are a few tips for exercising in the heat:
Know the weather.
If you haven’t been exercising in hot weather already this summer, don’t choose a hot day to start. Your body needs to acclimate to the heat, so start with shorter periods of exercise and gradually extend the duration of your workout. High humidity prevents sweat from readily evaporating from this skin, which puts added stress on your body. And pay attention to the forecast — and the sky. Severe weather can develop rather quickly, and there are no extra points for trying to outrun a thunderstorm or tornado.
Your body cools itself by sweating, and if you stay hydrated, the body is pretty good at cooling itself. When you become dehydrated, your body starts to store heat inside. Your core temperature begins to increase, and that can put your organs and nervous system at risk. Drink water before, during and after you exercise. Additionally, make sure you have food throughout the day.
Don’t try to keep up your normal pace and intensity in hot weather. Get comfortable knowing you’ll have to take things a bit easier when the mercury rises. Save your goal of setting a personal best for another, cooler day. Don’t think you have to keep up with your running or workout buddies — at least until the temperature cools off a bit.
Clothing for exercise or working out in hot weather should permit evaporation of sweat from your skin. Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting items. Clothing also can help protect your skin from the sun, along with plenty of sunscreen.
Listen to your body.
The old adage “no pain, no gain” is false. You should slow down or stop exercising at the first sign of discomfort. Other warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness and dizziness. Heat stroke, which is more serious, may be indicated by a rapid, weak pulse, confusion and loss of consciousness. If you experience any of these warning signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately, or alert someone to make the call on your behalf.
Summer fun can include outdoor exercise and workouts. The trick is to be smart about it. By following some simple tips, you’ll get more out of your time outdoors and reduce the risks associated with hot weather.
Taking your workout outside is a fun, free way to make the most of the sweet summer weather, but as the temperatures start to rise, so can your discomfort factor, not to mention your risk of dehydration or even heat stroke. Fortunately, there are ways to keep cool while you exercise that don’t involve staying indoors and cranking the AC. Here’s the lowdown from fitness experts on how to actually enjoy a sweat session in the summer heat.
quicklist: 1category: 4 Essential Tricks for Staying Cool During Outdoor Summer Workoutstitle: Don’t wipe that sweat awayurl:text:
While your natural reaction may be to towel off, Jessica Matthews, the senior advisor for health and fitness education at the American Council on Exercise, told Health that letting perspiration stay on your skin will actually help you feel cooler. “It’s not just the act of sweating that keeps your body temperature regulated, but how that sweat is evaporated by the body,” she says. “Letting yourself sweat and letting it pool on your skin allows the evaporation process to happen, and that’s what keeps you cool.” Matthews also suggests using a spray bottle to mimic this feeling at the start of your workout. “Just a little mist beforehand gives you that feeling of a light sweat and that process of evaporation already happening, so that’s a great thing to do before you head out.”
quicklist: 2category: 4 Essential Tricks for Staying Cool During Outdoor Summer Workoutstitle: Consider the heat indexurl:text:
The temperature reading outside is not the end-all, be-all when it comes to staying cool outdoors. Matthews recommends looking up your local humidity and temperature, then using a heat index chart, which measures the “apparent temperature” to gauge how hot it feels. Similar to how the wind chill affects how cold the temperature actually feels, the humidity can affect how hot a given temperature feels.
For days that the heat and humidity levels are high, Brendon McDermott, PhD, assistant professor in the graduate athletic training program at the University of Arkansas, recommends doing a lighter-than-normal workout if you’re going out between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when the heat is more intense. “If you’re a runner that runs a six-minute mile, then taking it easy for you might be to jog rather than run,” he says. “Or if you’re normally a jogger and go pretty slow, perhaps you should switch out walking for jogging that day or go for a lighter bike ride.”
quicklist: 3category: 4 Essential Tricks for Staying Cool During Outdoor Summer Workoutstitle: Wear breathable materialurl:text:
According to McDermott, lighter-colored clothing won’t make you feel any cooler in the heat than darker clothing. Instead, he recommends focusing on donning the right material. “If you put something on that does not allow you to sweat that is impairing your ability to get rid of the heat,” he says.
Cotton’s a prime offender, since it can absorb moisture and get heavy during your workout, Matthews adds. Instead, she suggests looking for gear made out of a polysynthetic blend, which is often found in “dry-fit” workout gear.
quicklist: 4category: 4 Essential Tricks for Staying Cool During Outdoor Summer Workoutstitle: Stay hydratedurl:text:
You know drinking water is key when you exercise, but what’s the right amount when you’re sweating bullets? Matthews recommends 7-10 ounces of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise. But there’s no need to obsess so much that you’re sipping with every step. Says McDermott: “For safety purposes, drinking when you feel thirsty is fine.”
Exercising in the summer can be a conundrum—you want to maintain your regular routine so you can make the most of summertime activities like surfing and biking, but sweat sessions in extreme heat can be excruciating. Lucky for you, there have been lots of studies examining how simple tweaks to your approach can help you work out harder and last longer. The bottom line: Anything you can do to keep your core body temperature as low as possible is key. Read on for strategies, backed by recent scientific research, to help you do just that.
1. DOWN A SLUSHIE BEFORE YOU GO OUTSIDE.
Yep, you read that right: Consider this your permission to drink a Slurpee (or maybe an alternative with less added sugar). In a 2009 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, sipping on 7.5 grams of a sweet, frozen drink per kilogram of bodyweight (which works out to be about 16 ounces for a 130-pound adult) 20 minutes before a run was shown to lower runners’ core temperatures for 30 minutes. Runners were also able to go 10 minutes longer after drinking the slushie, as opposed to after drinking sweetened cold water without ice.
2. TOWEL OFF.
Holding an icy-cold towel against your neck while you are exercising can help you go longer without fatiguing, according to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training. Similar research has shown that chilling your skin with a towel can help you up your workout intensity, too. If you’re running around a track, stash a cold towel on the side—so you can cool off again mid-workout. Or carry a Mission Enduracool towel with you, tucked into a pocket or waistband; its special microfiber fabric gets seriously cool when you douse it with water and wring it out.
3. ICE YOUR LEGS.
This one sounds a little weird and makes us squirm, but if you can stand holding ice against your thighs while you warm up before the main event, it might help you go harder. Athletes who did so shaved, on average, 85 seconds off their time running a 5K in 90-degree heat (although there was wide variation), research from the University of Brighton in England showed. (Wearing an ice vest beforehand helped too, but not as much—after doing that, study participants ran 48 seconds faster than normal, an increase the researchers deemed not statistically significant.) If you want to give it a go, try the Compression+ICE shorts from 110%; they come with packs you freeze and then slip into pockets along your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
4. POUR SOME H20 OVER YOUR HEAD.
Drinking icy water (unsurprisingly) lowers your body temperature more than drinking less chilly water, but dumping a cup of cold water over your body makes your temperature drop significantly more, according to an article from the University of Sydney’s Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory. When the liquid evaporates from the surface of your skin, that’s what cools you down. The more of the water that covers your skin, the better its chilling action works—but if only 15 percent of the cup actually evaporates from your skin, that’s enough to cool you down more than drinking the water.
Summer has finally arrived! You need to take certain precautions to get relief from extreme heat and humidity during workouts. Here are a few tips that will help you beat the summer heat and stay cool.
1. Exercise in the morning
Always make sure to exercise in the morning! Never exercise outdoors between 10 am to 3 pm as it is considered to be the hottest time of the day.
2. Never protein-load before workout
Do not protein load before performing exercises as it generates more heat in the body. Make sure not to eat more than 20 grams of protein right before exercising!
3. Adjust your body temperature
Take a cold shower before your workout. A pre-exercise cooldown helps you perform better in the heat as it lowers your heart rate and skin temperatures.
4. Cool down with essential oils
Apply a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil on the back of your neck and temples just before your workout. It provides a cooling effect and opens up your nasal passages.
5. Keep your neck cool with a frozen towel
Soak a thin, lightweight hand towel in a bowl of water. Wriggle the cloth and freeze it for an hour. When you are all set to go for a workout, wrap this towel around your neck.
6. Wear appropriate clothes
Choose loose and light coloured cotton clothes while you exercise during summer. It will keep you cool and comfortable.
7. Apply sunscreen
It is vital to protect your skin from sunburn. Opt for an oil-free sunscreen that will not interfere with your body’s ability to cool down. Make sure to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
8. Hydrate often
Stay hydrated to beat the heat during workouts. Drink a homemade electrolyte energy drink if you are working out continuously for an hour. Drinking coconut water also makes your body cool.
9. Choose a workout that fit the temperature
On scorching and humid days, choose more relaxed cardio activities like swimming in cold water.
10. Take a membership in a gym
Instead of worrying about the adverse weather conditions outside, you can join a gym that is fully air-conditioned.
11. Limit sun exposure
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight by finding out shady spots.
12. Split your workouts
Exercise moderately. Take breaks when you feel exhausted. Always be cautious before pushing yourself too far.
13. Buy some exercise DVDs
If the outside temperature is too hot, stick with indoor workouts. Buy a few exercise DVDs to burn calories within the comforts of your home.
We hope these tips motivate you in continuing your workouts comfortably during summer. Stay healthy forever!
Many people prefer to work out outdoors during the summer, instead of being stuck inside on a treadmill or at the gym. Running, biking, tennis, yoga, and other workouts are more enjoyable in the sun and fresh air. But these activities may also be harder on your body and even dangerous if you aren’t careful.
5 Tips for Safe Summer Workouts
Keep these tips in mind so you stay safer when working out in summer heat.
Schedule Your Workout Around the Weather
Plan to be active during the early morning or evening hours when temperatures are typically cooler. Consider bringing your workout indoors if there are:
- Excessive heat warnings
- High humidity levels
- Poor air quality alerts
Workouts can feel more challenging when it’s hot and humid. But they’re also harder on your body and can even become dangerous. If you stay outdoors, it may be a good idea to scale back the duration and intensity of your workout.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
No matter what type of activity you do, make sure you are well-hydrated. Water is best, because your body’s tissues can absorb it quickly. But water-rich fruits and vegetables also count towards your overall fluid intake. Try:
In extreme heat or during activity that lasts more than an hour, consider a sports drink that contains electrolytes to help your body refuel and rehydrate more efficiently.
Gear Up Properly
Wearing the right gear for the weather is just as important as hydrating right. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will keep you cooler than darker, heavy, or tight-fitting clothes. Also, opt for sweat-wicking performance fabrics rather than cotton. If it’s sunny out, wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a hat to shield your face from the sun.
Sunny or not, lather up with a water-resistant sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher. Your body has a harder time cooling down if you have a sunburn.
Stay Cool While You Refuel
After your workout, help your body cool down by refueling with refreshing foods and drinks like these:
Unsure About Summer Workouts?
The heat can take a toll on your body. Ask your provider how you can exercise safely.
Watch for Warning Signs
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you replace. Even mild dehydration can make you feel poorly and increase your risk of more serious heat-related problems. Know the signs of dehydration and take immediate action to seek shade, rest, and hydrate if you begin to experience any of them.
Signs of mild dehydration include:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
- Dark urine
Moderate to severe dehydration symptoms include:
- Not urinating or very dark-colored urine
- Dry, shriveled skin
- Irritability or confusion
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Breathing rapidly
- Fatigue or listlessness
Taking your summer workout outdoors can breathe new life into your fitness routine. But although the change in scenery may do you good, follow these commonsense practices so you stay safe and healthy when temps and humidity soar.
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Don't let sizzling temperatures derail your favorite outdoor activities. Beat the heat with these six clever products to keep you cool and comfortable when you're exercising or just on the go.
There’s nothing like bright summer sunshine to steer you out of the gym and toward fun hiking, biking, and jogging paths, but there’s a fine line between savoring a fresh-air workout and frying and sweating in the sweltering heat. So we rounded up our favorite products to outsmart common seasonal snags — all $55 or less.
Cold-As-Ice Water Bottle
Summer snag: Thanks to the sun's harsh rays, your water tastes like a warm bath by the time you're halfway through your workout.
Cool solution: Polar Bottle Insulated water bottles have double-wall construction to keep the cold in, and foil layers protect against the outdoor heat. For an even more refreshing swig, stash the bottle in the freezer the night before your workout. $10.99 for 20-ounce bottle, polarbottle.com
Keep-Your-Cool Neck Wrap
Summer snag: If you feel hot and gross before you even make it out the door, there’s no way you’ll last through your usual 45-minute power walk.
One cool idea: Soak the HeatMax EverCool Cooling Bandanas in water for about 15 minutes, and then tie around your neck before you head outside for a workout. The polymers in the reusable bandana absorb the water, which keeps it cool for up to a few days. $8, amazon.com
Summer snag: Oops! You forgot to apply sunscreen before you hopped on your bike … and now your crispy shoulders are paying the price.
One cool idea: This stylish Short Sleeve Summer Shade Tee boasts an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50-plus, so you're protected even if you accidentally skip the sunscreen. Available in seven colors. $36, athleta.com
Summer snag: Sweat + sunscreen = stinging eyes. Ouch!
One cool idea: Ditch the lotion for a No Sting Sunscreen Facestick by Mission Athletecare, founded by athletes like Serena Williams, Mia Hamm, and Dwayne Wade. The paraben-free, vitamin-enriched formula protects against UVA and UVB rays with minimal eye sting. Stash it in your short pockets so you can reapply, which is important if you get sweaty or are outdoors for more than a couple of hours. $8.99, missionathletecare.com
Summer snag: Your sweat-drenched cotton T-shirt clings to your body in the most unflattering way.
As record high temperatures batter much of the country, expert advice on staying active this summer.
The summer of 2021 came in sizzling, with June temperatures in many parts of the United States shattering records, baking landscapes and prompting those of us who usually exercise outside to question when, how — and if — we should continue to work out in nature’s furnace.
Helpfully, a group of exercise scientists wrote a comprehensive scientific review about training and competing in scorching heat, in preparation for the upcoming Summer Olympics in torrid Tokyo. Published in the aptly titled journal Temperature, the review focuses on elite athletes — but, the authors agree, the advice can be adapted for those of us training for a summer fun run or charity bike ride or aiming simply to stay active and safe outside until fall. What follows is a compilation of their expert recommendations, including when to down a slushie, why you might want to take a hot shower and whether to freeze your underwear.
It’s Too Darn Hot, So Be Strategic
When we exercise, we generate internal heat, which our bodies shed by sweating and shunting warmed blood away from our cores and toward the skin. If ambient temperatures rise, though, this process falters. Body heat builds up. Our hearts labor to send additional blood toward the skin. We glisten with sweat, and the same run, stroll or ride that felt tolerable during cooler weather now drains us.
To sidestep these conditions, we can move our workouts indoors, into air-conditioned comfort, or schedule them strategically. “I would always recommend the morning,” especially for city dwellers, says Oliver Gibson, a senior lecturer in exercise science at Brunel University London and lead author of the review. “In an urban area, it is likely that the concrete will have retained a high amount of residual heat that will radiate back” at exercisers later in the day, he says. Unshaded sidewalks similarly will be hotter than parks and leafy pathways.
Aim for Acclimatization
We also should accustom ourselves, slowly, to unfamiliar swelter, Dr. Gibson says, a process known to exercise scientists as acclimatizing, which involves working out sometimes, by choice, when the day is warmest. This approach helps to condition our bodies to better cope with the heat. Once acclimatized, we will sweat earlier and more abundantly than before, dissipating internal heat better and leaving us feeling bouncier and less fatigued.
Acclimatizing should be gradual, however. To start, slather on sunscreen, fill a water bottle, head outside after about 10 a.m., when temperatures intensify, and try to complete a gentler version of your standard workout, says Carl James, a senior physiologist at the National Sports Institute in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and co-author of the review. If you usually run for 30 minutes, for instance, maybe jog for 20, and monitor how you feel. If your heart seems to be racing, he says, or you feel lousy, “slow down.”
After a few acclimatization sessions, you should notice your clothes and skin are drenched, Dr. Gibson says. Congratulations. “Earlier and more profuse sweating is a great sign that heat adaptation is taking place,” he says. Most of us acclimatize after about five to 10 hot workouts, he adds, although women, who tend to sweat less freely than men, may require an extra easy session or two to be fully prepared for harder workouts in the heat.
Take a Warm Soaking
After each acclimatization session, head for the showers, but dial up the heat. Standing under a warm shower spray or soaking in a hot bathtub for 10 minutes or so after a sweltering workout prompts our bodies to continue acclimatizing, Dr. Gibson says. “It extends the stimuli for heat adaptation,” he points out, “and is therefore welcome and beneficial.”
Slurp a Slushie Beforehand, Consider Cold Underwear
An icy beverage before a hot workout “will help with hydration and provide a combination of perceptual and actual cooling,” Dr. Gibson says. Aim to drink about 16 ounces of cold fluid 20 minutes or so before you head out. Drinking closer to the session’s start could cause stomach upset during your workout.
Slapping a cold washcloth onto your neck, donning an ice vest or slipping into athletic undergarments that have spent the night in the freezer likewise can up coolness (if not comfort) during hot-weather exercise. So can a gentle misting of chilly water on your face or licking an ice pop, says Ashley Willmott, a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England, and another review co-author.
But these techniques can be risky, too, he cautions, because the cooling effects are limited and short-term, and potentially deceptive. “We sometimes see people cool before exercise, feel great, then head out too fast or hard,” he says, winding up prematurely winded and possibly on the cusp of heat problems.
Recognize Signs of Overheating
If you feel nausea, headache, dizziness or cramping during a hot workout, slow down or stop and hunt for shade, Dr. Gibson says. These could be signs of incipient heat illness. (You can learn more about the symptoms of heat illness and heat stroke at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Unfortunately, heat illness also clouds thinking, says Neil Maxwell, a lecturer in environmental physiology at the University of Brighton in England and the review’s senior author. “Your judgment becomes impaired,” he says, and you may not realize you are overheating.
He and his co-authors strongly recommend exercising with a partner in the heat. If either of you starts to feel “seriously hot or shows signs of cognitive dysfunction,” he says, such as sudden confusion, get off the path, under a shady tree or awning, and call for help. “Rapid cooling is essential within the first 30 minutes” of such an episode, Dr. Maxwell says. Immediately applying a cool cloth could help to start lowering body temperature.
You might also protect yourself and your training partners by the simple expedient of rejiggering your routes, Dr. Gibson says. “On hot days, do shorter loops” than normal and include “a dedicated water station,” he suggests, such as a public drinking fountain. Refill your water bottle there or stick your head under the flow each time around. Plus, “if you are feeling the heat,” he concludes, running in short loops “makes ending the session early more realistic.”
Sweating is gross, so I try not to do it. However, the heat wave known as summer has broken and the simple act of walking outside results in heavy perspiration. And exercising? I’d rather not. But I will. Even when the thermometer climbs past the 90-degree mark, at least 75 minutes of exercise per week is necessary to maintain health and 30 minutes daily to stay fit. That’s a lot of sweating and, more importantly, an increased risk of over-heating. Avoid the misery of sun stroke with these tips for keeping your cool (and a strong physique) throughout the dog days.
Reset the Time
Traditional common sense tells us the higher the sun, the higher the temperature. Climate science, however, has identified a factor known as the diurnal cycle which accounts for a time lag between the position of the sun and the time its radiant heat reaches earth. The sun is high at noon, but the mercury reaches its peak closer to 3:30 p.m. So, not only should you nix your lunch hour run, you should also avoid exercising outdoors any time between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Instead:
- Wake up before the sun and avoid heat from both above and below. The ground will have released a lot of the heat absorbed the day before.
- Burn off the stress of the day with an evening workout when the slanted rays of a low-hanging sun offer long shadows and less intense heat.
- Split a long workout into two shorter sessions — one for morning, the other at night.
Get In Gear
Your internal temperature can rise up to 20 degrees during a cardio workout even when exercising in cool temperatures. Donning appropriate workout wear and adding the right accessories can make a world of difference in moderating your body heat.
- Think light. Clothing that is light in weight and in color will help deflect the sun’s hot rays. Moisture-wicking athletic-wear is designed to pull sweat away from your body and allow it to evaporate which cools you down. Avoid cotton and cotton blends; they hold moisture in and dry slowly, trapping your body’s heat.
- Cool your pulse points with wristbands, headbands, and neck towels designed to pull moisture away from your body while staying cold to the touch. . Not only does SPF deflect external heat, it prevents your skin from creating its own heat, one of the many uncomfortable side effects of sunburn.
Drink It In
Heat = Sweat (gross) = Loss of Water. Whether exercising indoors or outdoors, weigh yourself beforehand. Do another weigh-in immediately after your workout, and compare the numbers. I bet the second number is lower. Guess what 99% of that lost weight is? Water. Your body, including its ability to moderate its temperature, cannot function properly if it is dehydrated. Don’t even think about another exercise session until all that lost fluid has been replaced. All of it.
- Take preventative measures in the hours before your workout by refraining from drinks known to cause dehydration. This includes alcohol, coffee, and soda.
- Drink tepid liquids — water and sports drinks rich in electrolytes, sodium, and potassium— before and after a workout. Why tepid and not cold? Because a hot body will reject too-cold liquids, causing it to come out the same way it went in. Save the ice cubes until you’ve cooled down and ready for some spa water.
- Eat your liquids. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of water, providing, on average, 20 percent of our daily intake of H2O.
Change Your Routine
Consider summer your off season and use the time to practice new forms of exercise complimentary to your typical regimen. The change will allow you to focus on different muscle groups and/or other skills such as balance or lifting. Not only will you reduce your chances of heat exhaustion, you’ll achieve better overall fitness by the end of the season.
- Stay cool in the pool. There are so many ways to train in the water: laps, diving for weights, doing your regular workout in the pool where the drag of the water works against you.
- Take a hike. Tiffany Champney, a sales lead at the REI in Bailey’s Crossroads, VA, votes hiking as the top substitute for runners and cyclers. “You use a different set of muscles walking across uneven terrain,” she says, “and your typical hike takes you through wooded areas which are cooler because of the shade and because the canopy keeps enough sun out that the ground never has a chance to absorb heat.”
- Get bent into shape. Many places offer yoga al fresco. It may be considered a low impact exercise, but for those who underestimate the difficulty of slow, controlled movement, their aching core will have them convinced the next day.
You can also opt to join a gym this summer. Exercising indoors, with air conditioning and large fans to circulate air, presents immensely fewer risks of overheating than exercising outdoors. For many, though, it is too hard to ignore their love of being outside. If you count yourself among the outdoorsy types, take two weeks to acclimate to rising temperatures by starting with less intense workouts, then slowly ramping up the difficulty as your body adjusts. And yes, I still think sweat is gross, but I also know the important role it plays in keeping a person healthy. So go ahead: sweat some, drink more, and stay cool. Photo Credits: Kulshrax, lululemon, Patrick Feller, and Anna Langova.
Summer is the perfect time to go outside and have fun. It’s one of my favorite times of year because there are so many outdoor activities to choose from. Everything is more fun outside, whether you’re swimming, running or cycling.
But the summer heat can be a problem if you’re not careful, particularly in areas with extreme heat and humidity.
After experiencing the Badwater Ultramarathon (a 135-mile run through Death Valley) and the Marathon des Sables (a six-day, 152-mile endurance race through the Sahara Desert), I’ve learned a few things about exercising in the heat.
For me, the biggest problems were staying hydrated and maintaining my body’s electrolytes and salt. When you sweat, your body loses not only water, but electrolytes and salt, too. This delicate balance of water and electrolytes is crucial to keep your body functioning properly.
If you don’t drink enough water, you can get dehydrated and suffer from light-headedness and nausea. If not recognized, dehydration can even result in kidney failure and or, in extreme cases, death. However, if you drink too much water without replenishing your electrolytes, you can experience hyponatremia. This can lead to confusion, nausea, muscle cramps, seizures or even death in extreme cases.
You may not be racing in the desert, but there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to exercising in the heat:
Don't let the heat stop you from feeling the burn.
When the weather’s nice, heading outside can liven up just about any activity. So why not take your regular workout outdoors this summer? Before you hit the pavement or the park, though, make sure you know what you’re doing. Exercising in the heat is a skill that, like your muscles, has to be trained. Check out the tips below to make sure you stay safe working out in the sun this season.
1. Stay hydrated
We know—this one sounds like a no-brainer. Even so, most people still don’t drink enough water while exercising, even if they think they do. Throwing yourself into a tough workout in the heat without drinking enough water can be dangerous. Extreme dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion are just a few of the possible side effects you could encounter.
So, here are some hydration fitness tips and facts to keep in mind before your next workout:
50–60% of our bodies are made up of water.
When exercising, we lose about 2–3% of our water mass—especially on hot summer days.
Watch out for humidity. If you’re working out on a humid day, your sweat clings to your skin, since it’s harder for it to evaporate, ultimately increasing your body temperature.
So, you’ll need to drink at least 200–300ml of water every 10–20 minutes to replace the fluids you’re losing while exercising.
If you’re prone to sweating or are working out in the sun for more than an hour, consider drinking an electrolyte-loaded sports drink to replace your lost potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium.
Start drinking water early, way before you begin your workout. It’s better to keep your hydration levels at a constant throughout the day than to play catch-up after your body is already dehydrated.
If you're serious about staying hydrated, weigh yourself before and after you exercise. For every pound you lose during your workout, you’ll need to drink 600ml of water.
2. Adjust your expectations
When exercising in the heat, your body has to work overtime. Not only does it have to regulate the amount of oxygen and CO2 flooding your body while working out, but it also has to keep itself from overheating. This process is called thermoregulation. When activated, blood is drawn away from your muscles and sent to circulate around your skin. This increases your heart rate and how much you sweat, but keeps your body temperature cooler.
So, considering the extra stress your body is under when exercising in the sun, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve a personal best—so don’t try to! Adjusting your expectations is key to keeping yourself safe and healthy. Listening to your body means you’ll be able to adapt your workouts to match what it’s capable of under these conditions without risking heat stroke.
3. Move with the sun
Have you always wanted to make a habit of waking up early? Now’s the time to do it. Since the hottest part of the day is between 10am and 3pm, the smartest way to workout in summer is to beat the heat and start exercising in the morning.
Not only will this mean you can workout more effectively, it will also set you up for the day ahead. Getting those endorphins going early means you’re more likely to:
Make healthier food decisions throughout the day
Have higher energy levels
Enjoy a better mood
Be able to focus for longer
4. Wear the right gear
Wearing the right clothes is always important when working out—and it’s especially critical if you’re working out in the heat. Dark, heavy clothing absorbs heat, which will make your body temperature skyrocket while exercising.
Instead, it’s a good idea to invest in some lightweight, breathable, bright-colored sports clothing. In particular, look for clothes labeled “moisture-wicking.” These items are made from fabric that removes the sweat away from the surface of the skin while also drying quickly, preventing the fabric from becoming damp.
In addition to wearing the right clothing, it’s also vital to cover any exposed skin in water-resistant sunscreen (at least SPF 30). Remember to reapply often and to work out in the shade wherever possible.
5. Start swimming
Dipping yourself in a large body of water is the perfect solution to keeping cool on those scorching summer days—and also a great fitness tip. Not only does swimming keep your body temperature much cooler, letting you exercise for longer, but it comes with a host of other benefits:
It engages your entire body, giving you a comprehensive workout.
It’s incredibly low-impact meaning it’s good for your joints.
Since you’re using your entire body, you can burn lots of calories in the pool.
It’s great for your cardiovascular system, strengthening your heart and lungs.
Whatever you decide to do, just remember to listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy or ill, take a break and get back to it later. There’s no rush when it comes to working out in the heat—just do what feels right for you.
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Whether you’re a HIIT, yoga, or Pilates enthusiast, workout motivation can be seriously hard to muster in the thick of summer. The heat. The humidity. The beads of sweat that develop from merely crossing the street. Add in the idea of leggings and gah!
But because shorts (cycling, running) aren’t everyone’s fav, breathable workout pants are key for having an active summer. “The last thing you want on those hot, humid days is non-breathable leggings,” says Hannah Deely, senior market editor for Hearst Women’s Fashion Group. “You’ll be focused on the added body heat rather than your workout.”
Luckily for your overheated legs, tights made out of lightweight and breathable fabric with moisture-wicking technology make a world of difference in the heat and can actually keep you feeling cooler than you would with bare legs.
Plus, despite their “second-skin” feel, leggings made with these fabrics also offer multi-way stretch and compression. This way, you reap performance benefits without catching fire.
Another thing to consider? Design. Leggings with lots of seams can create chafing, Deeley says. Instead, smooth, seamless silhouettes with laser-cut designs are best if you’re craving a fashion moment.
Equip your activewear drawer to handle the hottest workouts of the year with these 13 pairs of summer workout leggings, from the trainer-tested to the internet sensations.
Training in the summer takes some special consideration, especially if you live in a hot and humid environment like the South, East Coast and Midwest. However, training in arid and hot environments like the Southwest and Western U.S. requires the same considerations. Drier climates actually can be more dangerous as you do not sweat to stay cool (it just evaporates almost instantly) — but you will notice salt stains on clothing, just the same.
Here is a question from a trainer down in Charleston, who needed some ideas other than the typical “stay well-hydrated, avoid the heat of the day, etc. . “
Stew, I train mostly fighters. I believe outdoor training-PT and running/rucking for regular Marines gets red-flagged here around 92 degrees F. Do you have any thoughts on training in the heat for elite athletes, like SEALs or Marine Force Recon? My question is limited to upper limits of training in the heat. I train athletes, all kinds, for max performance, and then some for specific conditions, like altitude or heat as an event approaches. I don’t want a fighter overwhelmed by heat in the ring or on the field, but I want them performing like they trained in ideal conditions. Any advice?
I have found through experience and studies that half of fatigue is related to body heat, so if you can keep the fighter’s body heat down, the better they will be — no matter what the temperature is outside. We train year-round, but in the summer, we get most of our workouts done in the early morning.
It is always bearable on the heat scale, but we do a few acclimatizing workouts later in the day to get used to 90+ degrees. Eventually, if you do it right, your fighters will say, “Hey, it is only going to be 89 degrees today; better bring a sweater.” I used to think the SEAL instructors were just putting us in the water as part of the cold-water torture program to get us to quit. But I remember so many times that after a long beach run in the heat of the day, getting into the cold Pacific Ocean was reinvigorating once we were finished. It did not seem like surf torture then.
As you know, hydration is the key before, during and after a workout in the heat. And when profusely sweating (or producing salt stains), you need the salts (electrolytes) even more than normal. Sweating is the key to staying cool, but if in arid environments or humid as well, you need to get them soaking wet in a pool, lake, river or with a water hose. That really helps, too, and almost gives the students a second wind.
We typically will work out in the heat — feel completely burned out and very hot, then jump in the pool to start a swim workout. After about 3-4 minutes of cooling down, all members are ready to go again almost as if they were fresh and did not get hot prior. Like I said, half of fatigue is body heat. Stay cool, hydrated and well-fueled, and you can go all day.
So our heat-busting workouts look like this:
Limit time to one hour in the heat/humidity, finding shade as much as possible to do PT/water breaks, etc.
My Spec Ops groups and I typically will run 5-6 miles, mixed in with calisthenics of pull-ups, push-ups, abs and squats for that 45-60 minutes. Then go to the pool and continue with swim PT.
Hydration, electrolytes and carbs can be added now. Jump in the pool and cool down for 4-5 minutes.
Typical swim PT workout:
Repeat 10-15 times.
Plank pose for remainder of two-minute push-up set
Rest with abs of choice one minute
Prior to getting in the water, we do not feel like doing part two of this workout, but after that pool cooldown, it really helps.
So in a nutshell, keep them cool with some form of water (not just drinking water but some form of getting soaked). When you can, PT in the shade. Start harder workouts in the early morning, but as the group gets used to the morning heat, push to later in the morning and into the early afternoon. Always follow hot workouts with a way to soak your body completely and find a way to cool down.
Special consideration for air quality. Often in the heat of the day, if the smog pollution and ozone levels are high, it can be harmful to train in the bad air. Upper-respiratory infections can follow quickly; as “they say,” it is like smoking a pack of cigarettes when you run in poor air quality so it depends on your geographical location as well.
Everyone knows it’s important to make sure you’re keeping cool during exercise in the summer heat. However, it’s also essential to understand how to stay cool when you’re practicing and competing indoors this winter.
But how do you (or your kids) manage to keep your cool when gyms and indoor arenas can get so hot? Here are some strategies for maintaining a cool temperature and optimal performance before and during competition.
One of the effective strategies for keeping cool during workouts and competitions is utilizing precooling. This combination of techniques involves cooling your body down before starting a workout in order to help you avoid heat exhaustion for longer. Studies show that pre-cooling can improve your performance by up to 7% when exercising in 85° F temperatures or higher.
Many different precooling techniques have been tried, but the ones that seem to have the largest effect are immersing yourself in cold water, drinking cold water or an ice slurry, and cooling packs.
Immersing yourself in cold water doesn’t have to be really cold. Experiments involved immersion in water that ranged from 50° to 75° F
Drinking cold water – not much above freezing – or an ice slurry not only helps drop your body temperature, but also hydrates you. In general, you should start hydrating at least 15 minutes before you begin exercising. Note that some people find the consumption of cold beverages before exertion leads to stomach upset. Test this for yourself before trying it on the day of the competition.
For maximum effectiveness, apply cooling packs to the areas you’re going to utilize most. Using cooling packs on the legs, for example, has been shown to help athletes run up to 6% faster.
These techniques can be utilized together to improve the effects, though the improvement is not enormous (i.e. 7% vs. 6% improvement).
Cooling While Active
It’s also good to employ cooling techniques during workouts, training, or competitions. The number one technique for staying cool during a workout is having cool air blow on you during and between activities. This can improve your performance in hot conditions by nearly 19%. Wearing a cooling vest can also improve performance substantially, up to 11%. Drinking cold water or an ice slurry during your activity can potentially improve your performance by up to 6%. Note that some people report the same problems while drinking a cold beverage during workouts as before them.
Portacools vs. Fans for Cooling
With the significant potential effect of a cooling wind during exertion, this seems like the standout method for keeping cool during indoor sports if you’re trying to maximize performance.
You might think that a fan for sports might be a good choice to help cool down. If you want to take advantage of the maximum benefit from a cooling wind, though, an indoor fan is not the best choice. That’s because the cooling wind has to be at a lower temperature than the air you’re exercising in, or else it doesn’t provide the performance-boosting cooling. For maximum effect, then, you need a technique that doesn’t just blow around hot air, but provides cool air.
An evaporative cooler for athletics meets these criteria. It can take the heated air of a gym or sports venue where you’re working out or kids are competing, and cool it down to promote better performance, not to mention avoiding heat exhaustion and other effects.
Portacool evaporative coolers make a great choice for athletics. With a wide range of sizes and styles, it’s easy to get an evaporative cooler that meets the needs of your gym or athletic competitions. You might get one for indoor use now, then find that it’s an excellent choice for year-round use as sports move outside with the warmer summer temperatures.
Plus, Portacool has been made in the USA since 1990. We offer best-in-class warranties and customer service to help ensure your Portacool is a good investment in cooling for years to come.
To learn how Portacool can provide cooler conditions for athletes and kids at your gym or athletic program, please contact a local or online retailer today.
In Phoenix, locals call it a “cold snap” when the thermometer drops below 105 degrees. After spending time at a construction site, Arizona builder Albert Ayala found his head swimming and noticed he had stopped sweating. “I felt terrible,” he recalls. He went home and a couple of hours later, experienced fierce muscle cramps. “I thought I knew heat,” he says, “but it got me.”
“It can happen to anyone,” says Andrea M. McCauley, director of communication for the American Red Cross in the Phoenix area. Although becoming acclimated gradually to heat helps (in Phoenix, they say if you can get through one summer, you won’t notice the heat as much), acclimation is not the whole answer.
How Hot Is Hot?
“When should you worry about exercising in the heat?” asks William O. Roberts, MD, a sports medicine specialist with MinnHealth in White Bear Lake, Minn., (not in a desert, notice — this can happen anywhere). “That’s a moving target. A lot depends on the humidity. With no acclimation, 70 degrees with high humidity can be dangerous. Your sweat can’t evaporate.”
Heat, Roberts repeats, is not something you can instinctively gauge. “People often don’t realize how hot and humid it is until they are already in trouble.”
If the body cannot carry the heat given off by exercising muscles to the surface of the body fast enough — and once it’s there, if the surrounding air is not cooler or evaporating sweat does not cool the body — one’s innards literally stew, destroying and shutting down organ systems. It’s not a matter of discipline or will, it’s a matter of heat exchange — physics and physiology, not physical endurance.
Symptoms of Trouble
The most common symptoms of heat illness are nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, or an altered mental state (confused, raving, aggressive, rambling incoherently). Body temperature can spike up to 105 degrees or more (110 to 114 degrees is not unknown). If the sweating mechanism shuts down as it did in Albert’s case, over time the body loses all hope of cooling itself and the brain and other organs begin to “cook.” Heat stroke is the term for this latter condition and can result in death.
But it’s not that simple. “I usually don’t want to say heat exhaustion is a first stage of heat stroke or that it can go from one to the other,” Roberts says. “They are two different things. You can get exercise exhaustion in the heat, but it’s usually from the exercise not the heat.”
Giving it a name is not that important. “You may suddenly get tired, sick, headachy, thirsty, or faint,” sums up McCauley.
Hydration Not the Whole Answer
The most common piece of advice about exercising in the heat is drink, drink, drink — water, not caffeine-loaded sodas or beer. Roberts says you can get heat exhaustion even if you are hydrated, though. He recommends determining your sweat rate instead and replacing that, without overdoing it.
To determine your sweat rate, weigh yourself nude before your workout, then towel down and weigh again. The difference in ounces is the fluid you lost. “Replace that, not twice that,” Roberts says. “Too much fluid can be bad, too.”
McCauley, on the other hand, recommends drinking a quart before running or exercising outside, and a quart after. “Drink even if you are not thirsty,” she says.
What about salt tablets? “They got a bad rep because they were thought to contribute to high blood pressure,” Roberts explains. However, he still recommends augmenting with salt. “You know when you first exercise and the sweat drips in your eyes and it stings?” he asks. “Well, after two or three weeks of exercising in the heat, your salt level will go down. So I recommend eating a few more salty foods, pretzels, potato chips, or salt your food.”
Time and Place for Exercise
How can one exercise smarter?
- Run only between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., McCauley says. That’s when traffic is lightest and air quality the best. Sucking in poison to overload your already taxed system is not a good idea. Pollution of over 0.15 parts per million usually warrants an advisory — so be advised! Be especially careful in cities with the worst ozone pollution. For 2003, according to the American Lung Association, they are (in order) Los Angeles; Fresno, Calif.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, Calif.; Houston; Sacramento, Calif.; Merced, Calif.; Atlanta; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Charlotte, N.C.
- Wear light-colored, loose, absorbent clothing (lose the Spandex or even cotton, which can stay wet).
- Don’t engage in strenuous workouts, even in a heated pool (you can get overheated and dehydrated in water.)
- Carry a frozen water bottle in the back of your shorts (feels good, too).
- Seek shaded pathways.
- Exercise moderately — 60% to 70% of maximum heart rate. Take breaks. Walk.
- Drink a couple of cups of room temperature water before leaving and more when returning. In between, slug back a cup or two every 20 minutes.
- When it’s over 90 degrees, hit the gym instead.
What to Do If the Heat Gets You
Despite all your care, what if the heat sneaks up on you or a companion anyway?
You need to cool off fast! “I toss my athletes in ice water,” says Roberts. Cool, wet cloths, sips of water, shade, and if the person is still fire-hot or raving and incoherent, call the paramedics. “The idea is to lower the temperature as quickly as possible to stop the cooking process,” Roberts says. “Temperature vs. time.”
The best thing, however, is to prevent trouble. “I still see people in dark clothes running along a roadway during evening rush hour,” McCauley says with a sigh.
I enjoy the long hours of sunlight during the summer since it means I can get out earlier to run, but I don’t enjoy the heat. Oh, I love summer and warm weather, but I prefer running in the winter (except in icy conditions). Layering keeps me warm, and it doesn’t take too long for my body to adjust to the cold and feel very comfortable.
Exercising in hot weather, especially when it’s humid, takes more energy and is harder to do. Yet, if you are aware of these factors, and you follow these precautions, you can be safe and happy exercising throughout the summer.
1. The most important consideration is hydration.
Who hasn’t heard: “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day”? That’s a great start, but if you’re exercising or trying to lose weight, you need to drink more. Also, the more you weigh, the more water you need to consume to keep your body functioning properly, especially in the summer.
At first, it may seem difficult to consume the right amount of water, but your body will adjust and you will look and feel better when you consume the right amount of water. (And I do mean water, not sodas, tea, coffee, or other such beverage.) To see if you are getting enough water, check the color of your urine. It should be clear or a pale yellow. If it’s dark, drink a pint (16 ounces) of water as soon as possible.
Try to have water available as you exercise and drink at least one pint before your workout. Drink as much as you can during and after your routine. When I do my aerobic routines, I have a bottle of water handy. On long runs and bike rides, I carry water with me, or I plan my runs around places where I can get water, such as parks, public libraries, fast food restaurants, etc. I could say so much more about water, but check out this page on fluids here.
2. Wear sunglasses.
Your eyes are one of the most precious assets you have, and you need to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays. Buy yourself a good pair of sunglasses that block out the sun’s ultraviolet rays and then wear them.
Although I run very early mornings, I take my sunglasses with me. When the sun comes up, the sunglasses go on. Yes, it adds a “little extra weight,” but I have found that, psychologically, the sunglasses help keep me cooler since it seems like I’m running in the shade. Also, I no longer squint at the sun while I’m running.
Wearing sunglasses also helps to prevent a certain kind of cataract. “Exposure to ultraviolet radiation may increase your risk of cortical cataracts, which typically affect the outer edge of the lens of the eye.” However, if you are diligent about wearing sunglasses when outside, you will have “significantly less lens clouding from cortical cataracts than non-wearers of sunglasses” (according to a recent study).
3. Wear head protection to protect yourself from the sun and keep your head and face cool.
Whenever possible, I start my runs before the sun comes up so I am finished before the day gets too hot. I wear a hat during the very cold winter months and when it rains, but I find that during the summer a hat makes me hot. You can also try vented hats.
4. Wear sunblock on all exposed areas.
Wear a sunblock with at least an SPF of 15, although the higher the protection, the better. If possible, apply the sunblock 30 minutes before going outside. And don’t let an overcast sky fool you into thinking you won’t get sun exposure. I made the mistake of not wearing sunblock to a race on an overcast day. Rain was in the forecast, but the sun broke through during the awards ceremony. That night, I had to deal with painful sunburn on my exposed upper arms and shoulders.
5. Cover as much of your body as possible.
I’m not saying you have to wear long pants or long sleeves, but exposing more skin also exposes you to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Men, you might feel more comfortable with your shirt off, but leaving it on will protect you better from the sun.
6. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
I recommend special synthetic fabrics such as CoolMax and DriFit which wick away sweat and moisture from the skin. For several months, I ran in a cotton t-shirt, shorts, and socks. After a long or hard run, my clothes were drenched, even in the winter. When I bought my first CoolMax shirt, I noticed the difference immediately.
7. In the summer, avoid exercising during the middle of the day or early afternoon when the sun is the hottest.
Early morning is the coolest part of the day. Even the early evening can be very hot.
8. Sometimes, even early morning can be extremely hot and humid.
When this happens, you may want to consider exercising inside.
9. Cool down with some simple stretches.
You may be hot and tired after your routine, but don’t neglect this important part of your exercise regimen. Stretching for a few minutes will help cool you down and relax your muscles.
I know most people have no problem with this and would gladly use rest as an excuse for not exercising. I sometimes have days when I don’t feel like getting up and exercising. Too many other responsibilities press on my time, or I would love to get a few more minutes of sleep. Those are the days when I tell myself to do a few minutes of my aerobic routine or run an easy mile. Then, I assess how I feel. Usually, I’m starting to feel better, and I finish my intended routine.
Occasionally, however, I have come to the conclusion after a mile of running or 10-15 minutes of aerobics that my body cannot do the usual hour or more I had planned. Instead, I have an easy day of some simple stretches.
I’ve learned from experience that pushing too hard at the wrong times can lead to injury and fatigue. It’s far better, to ease up on the training or take an extra day off when your body needs time to rest rather than pushing yourself and then be forced to take off more time in the end to recuperate from injuries.
If you are exercising and you start feeling dizzy, nauseated, excessively thirsty, or unusually fatigued, lower the intensity of your workout or stop. Drink plenty of fluids and take a cool shower.
Summer may be hot, but you can safely exercise and survive the heat if you heed these 10 tips.
1. Alter your pattern of outdoor exercise to take advantage of cooler times (early morning or late evening). If you can’t change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walking instead or running, or decreasing your level of exertion.
2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light colour.
3. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.
4. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
5. Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
6. Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.
7. Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you’re ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you’ll have a supply of cold water with you.
8. Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
9. Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or other sources of electrolytes.
10. Some people swear by small, portable, battery-powered fans.
11. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these will promote dehydration.
12. Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products.
13. If you don’t have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a shopping mall, public library, movie theatre, or other public space that is cool.
14. Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Pay special attention to the elderly, infants, and anyone with a chronic illness, as they may dehydrate easily and be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Don’t forget that pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses too.