The heat can be a major drawback for people looking to work out in the summer. If you're not careful, you can end up suffering from a heat-related health condition such as a heat stroke, heat exhaustion or extreme dehydration, all of which can greatly derail you from your fitness goals.
Fortunately, we have some tips to help you to safely work out on even the hottest of summer days.
Take a cold shower
Before your workout even begins you may want to take a cold shower. Once you finish your shower, ditch the blow dryer and opt for a wet head to help you to stay cool during your workout.
Stay hydrated with the RIGHT fluids
Water is your best friend on a hot day for staying hydrated; however, if you’re planning to exercise for more than 60 minutes, you may also want to consider sipping on a sports drinks.
Sports drinks are important when working out for prolonged periods of time, especially in the heat, because they contain potassium and electrolytes that can rehydrate and replenish your body. The high levels of sodium may actually be good for your body as well as sodium is a key ingredient for a hot day.
As with everything, moderation is key.
Wear light clothing
Bright colors are good since they will reflect the sun and also help to make you more visible to oncoming traffic. Cotton is a light-weight and affordable material that can help you to stay dry.
If you’re willing to splurge a bit more, opt for sweat-wicking shirts and shorts to keep the sweat at bay.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
Nothing is worse than trying to complete a summer workout with a bad sun burn that makes it hard to move. Stop the burn before it occurs by slathering on the sunscreen. Opt for s sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 and one that is water-proof so that it doesn’t come off once you start sweating.
Timing is everything
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is known for being the hottest time of the day in the summer. If you’re planning an outdoor workout, try to do it either before or after this time slot.
Many athletes prefer to work out earlier in the morning as it can help them to stay energized throughout the day and to sleep better at night.
Don’t fear the water
Summer is the perfect time to make water your friend. On especially hot days, try adding a water activity to your workout such as swimming, surfing or Stand-Up-Paddle Boarding (SUP). These activities will help you to stay fit and healthy in the summer in a fun and new way while also staying cool. Who knows, you may end up finding a new favorite exercise.
Prefer to run instead? No worries, you can still get in on the water action. Next time you see what looks like a “rainy day”, opt to run with the rain rather than against it. Running during a rainy day can help you to stay cool and many athletes find these workouts to be invigorating and refreshing.
The key for successfully running in the rain is to be prepared. Wear bright clothing and make sure all of your clothing is water-proof (this includes shoes and accessories such as a cell-phone case). Avoid running around cars that may have trouble seeing you.
Running in a little bit of rain won’t harm you, but if you see lightening or hear thunder, you’ll want to return inside to safety as quickly as possible.
Take it indoors
There's nothing wrong with working out indoors at your local gym or even in your home if you have equipment. On days when there is an excessive heat warning, this can be your best decision to stay cool and avoid a heat-related injury while still getting in your workout.
Know your limits
Listen to your body and if you begin to feel dizzy, nauseous, or tired, give yourself a break. Taking some time off for rest is better than overdoing your workout and getting sick or injured and having to stop working out altogether.
If the summer heat proves to be too much of a challenge for your standard high-intensity workout, break it up into multiple smaller workouts throughout the day. This will allow your body time to rest and refuel without jeopardizing your fitness and workout goals.
Have fun and stay cool - and safe - this summer!