5 Tips for Staying Cool During A Summer Workout
Summer is right around the corner, and it can be a killer for working out because when the temperatures and humidity skyrocket, we are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, from heat related cramping to heat stroke.
Exercising in hotter weather puts extra stress on our bodies, even those of us in tip-top shape, because to keep cool, the body sends more blood to circulate through the skin, leaving less blood for the muscles. This causes the heart rate to increase, and can cause us to feel faint or even collapse if we don’t follow a few simple heat rules.
1. Exercise earlier in the day, before the heat and humidity of the late morning and early afternoon hit.
Check the hour-by-hour weather forecast before beginning a workout, this way you know what to expect from the heat and humidity from the start of a workout through the end. Also, take into account your workout clothes – fabrics that wick away sweat are important during hotter weather.
2. Know your fitness level, and understand any medical risk factors you have that pertain to heat.
You may be able to run a marathon on a chilly November day, but that same marathon on a 95-degree scorcher may not be safe. Talk to your doctor about heat-based risk factors for everything from asthma to high blood pressure to make sure you stay safe in the summer heat.
3. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the workout.
It’s always important to hydrate, but the summer months make proper hydration mandatory. Keep a bottle of water handy, and don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Also, remember that intense workouts – running, Zumba, etc. – will require that you replenish not only water but potassium, sodium, and chloride. Sports drinks can help to replenish those elements.
Summer workouts allow for a greater variety than winter workouts, primarily because they can be performed outside as well as inside. Whatever your workout, pay attention to your body’s signals, and be prepared to take things slow, especially on those really hot days.