Have you struggled with balancing the heat of summer with your desire to work out?
I grew up on East Coast where the months of May through September are filled with 100-degree days with 100% humidity, so I am no stranger to heat. I remember watching steam rise off turf fields and feeling as if I was running directly inside of a sauna.
Heat’s Effect on Your Body
When you work out in the heat, it forces your blood to circulate to the skin so it can be cooled. This process diverts some of your blood away from your muscles, as well as lower the amount of blood your heart can pump during each beat. This means your heart is working harder, raising your heart rate and core temperature in the process. (You can learn more from the Mayo Clinic here.)
Keep your Cool
With the right strategies, it’s possible to safely workout this summer. Here are some tips on how to beat the heat.
- On The Go in H2O.
Whether you’re exercising in a pool or taking advantage of water sports, working out in water is guaranteed to provide great exercise while keeping you cool.
- Speaking of water, drink lots of it.
- Ice, Ice, Baby.
- Timing is everything.
- Dress the Part.
- Easy Does It.
- Be Aware of Your Body.
Hydration is key. As temperatures rise, be sure to fuel your body with water leading up to, during and after your workouts.
On extra hot days put ice directly on your skin. Although this won’t cool your body temperature if will provide relief. Some people throw ice cubes in their workout gear and I even hold it in my hands when I run!
Exercising at sunset or sunrise is beautiful AND the temperatures are cooler.
Switch to a sports drink with electrolytes if you will be exercising for more than an hour.
Clothing choice is important. While cotton may seem comfortable, minimal clothing that is light, loose-fitting and moisture wicking are better choices.
Gradually ease your way into your workout routine. Allow your body to adapt to the changing climate as you increase your intensity and workout duration over the summer months.
With increased sun exposure it’s crucial to apply and re-apply sunblock to protect your skin from sun damage. Remember, even cloudy days have strong rays!
Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures, and is often accompanied by dehydration. If you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion (confusion, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle or abdominal cramps, nausea, pales skin, rapid heartbeat or profuse sweating), it’s important to immediately get out of the heat and rest, drink plenty of fluid, remove tight or unnecessary clothing and even take a cool shower. If you don’t start to recover within 15 minutes, seek emergency help.
If the necessary precautions are taken, exercising in heat is fun and can actually improve your fitness level. Summer provides some of the best months to exercise and get outdoors. Don’t let increased temperatures get in the way of your fun in the sun.
Share your photos of summer workouts with us using #staycoolmb on Instagram.