Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. But, you can’t do the same training in the summer heat that you can during the rest of the year, so be aware of that.
You don’t want to face cramps, dehydration or exhaustion, so follow a few simple tips before you go full-out this summer.
Water, Water Everywhere
Drink a lot of water. All the experts say that. Power drinks with electrolytes are best because your body tends to sweat out those salts that help the muscles contract during exercise.
Carry water with you in case you can’t get to a water source easily. Don’t let your body dehydrate.
Your body needs to sweat, and will need to replenish the loss of sodium and potassium. Fruit and vegetables along with a lot of water also helps. Marathon runners, for example, know the benefits of a few slices of orange while stopping for a break.
A sports dietician in Portland, Oregon, Suzanne Girard Eberle, says that it’s easy to lose one or two pounds in a summer workout. You lose 2-1/2 cups of water for every pound you lose, and if it’s too much, that’s not good.
If your urine is the color of lemonade, that’s good. If it’s darker, then you may be becoming dehydrated.
Wear Light Clothing That Breathes
Synthetic athletic material is the best to wear while working out in the hot sun.
Lightweight fabric, with some cotton is the best. Don’t wear dark colors, or black. Lighter colors reflect the sun. Covering up the muscles that work the most can generate too much heat.
The evaporation of sweat is what cools the body down during peak heat hours.
Consider Training in the Off Hours
The hottest times of the day are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Make sure your toughest workout times are before or after those hours.
If you are planning to join a race or event that takes place during those peak hours in the summer, then build up to that intensity for at least two weeks before, adding more and more time during the peak hours.
Use Sunscreen and Shade
If you are stationary, in a park, for example, do the workout in the shade of a tree.
Always wear sunscreen when outside, even on overcast sunny days, because you can still develop a burn.
Consider a hat, if it works out with your exercise, as well as sunglasses, and make sure the sunscreen is waterproof.
Listen to Your Body Talk
If you get short of breath and aren’t used to that, then stop and take a break.
Headaches are common during heated workouts, the may feel like migraines.
If you feel dizzy, nauseous or start to vomit, stop training immediately, and seek medical attention if you get worse. Avoid the point of feeling faint or over-heated, but most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you.
If you take medications, check to see if they can intensify the effects of heat. Many antidepressants, decongestants, appetite suppressants and antihistamines can cause dehydration or decrease the body’s ability to know when it’s in danger of being overheated.
Alcohol and caffeine consumed before a heated workout could also accelerate dehydration.
Set Realistic Goals
Don’t expect to reach your personal best when the temperatures are in the 90s. Keep competition with others and yourself more reasonable when it’s hot outside.
Most importantly, stay cool!