Just because it’s hazy, hot and humid out there, doesn’t mean you need to skip your workout. You just need to be smart about your summer fitness routine. Risk of dehydration is higher than in cooler months.
During the cooler months, when you exercise, your body is warmer than the environment, but when it’s blazing hot outside, the opposite can be true. Your muscles regulate the heat by releasing sweat in an attempt to cool your body down. All that sweat is valuable fluid your body is losing and you have to work doubly hard to replace it, or you could be at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and in extreme cases, stroke.
When you’re dehydrated, your body can no longer cool itself by sweating, and begins storing heat inside. As your core body temperature rises, your risk of heat exhaustion and stroke increases. Signs of heat exhaustion include fatigue, weakness, nausea, and muscle cramps. Heat stroke is much more serious and symptoms include internal body temperatures over 104, inability to sweat, respiratory distress and loss of consciousness. Stay safe by following these tips for summer fitness:
- Time of Day – avoid exercising during the hours of 10-3, since they are typically the hottest. Aim for early morning or evening workouts.
- Clothing – choose light colors to reflect heat and specially designed clothing that can wick moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and cool.
- Sunscreen – apply a liberal amount of sunscreen before any outside exercise. Look for broad-spectrum coverage with an SPF of at least 45.
- Weather – check the weather report for any warnings. Heat advisories or poor air quality warnings should be heeded. Move your workout inside.
- Hydration – this is crucial. Drink a glass or two of water prior to heading out, carry water with you and drink another glass or two when you’re finished.
- Partner – exercise with a friend. It’s safer in case something goes wrong and can be more fun.
- Shade – if you’re going for a run, seek out a shady path or trail instead of running on the road in direct sunlight. Shaded areas can be up to 10 degrees cooler!
- Ease – if you’re used to a strenuous workout in cooler temperatures, keep in mind you may need to ease up when it’s hot out. Listen to your body and take it easy.
- Water – need a cool workout in the heat? Head for water! Water exercise is ideal since it naturally cools your body. Just remember, you still need to stay hydrated while exercising in water.
- Electrolytes – all that sweat makes you lose electrolytes. They’re important for proper body functioning. Sport drinks help you replace electrolytes because they have added sodium chloride or potassium chloride.