Beat the Heat: Exercising Safely in Hot Weather

On a bright summer day, it’s seems wrong to take yourself to a windowless gym for your workout. You’re also missing out on all of that natural energy you get from the outdoors. However, when the temperatures start to soar it’s important to take precautions to ensure your workout stays a safe one. 


Dress For the Weather

Wearing lightweight and light-coloured clothing can help you stay cool on hot days. Look for fabrics that wick away sweat and it’s always a good idea to wear a hat. Make sure to put on a water-resistant sunscreen before your workout. If your workout is on the water or the beach remember that the sun’s effects will be magnified and up your protection accordingly.


Hydrate

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before you open that water bottle. Drink early and drink often, making sure to take small sips of water throughout your workout. Staying well hydrated is key to avoiding heat exhaustion and muscle cramps. Avoid the so-called sports drinks – they have a tremendous amount of sugar. If plain water is boring you, try coconut water or make your own electrolyte-replenishing energy drink. Mix 4 cups warm water with a ¼ tsp of sea salt and 2 tbsp natural sugar or honey. Add lemon juice to taste and refrigerate. You can double the amounts and make a big batch to last you the week.

 

It’s Not Just the Heat

The humidity can play more of a factor in heat exhaustion than the actual temperature.  High humidity doesn’t just mean a bad hair day, it also prevents your body’s natural cooling system from working properly. Sweat doesn’t evaporate from the skin, making you get even hotter. Re-think your plans on high humidity or heat-alert days.

 

Acclimatize

When you’re used to working out inside or in a cool climate it can take a while for your body to adjust. Keep your workout light for the first few days, gradually increasing intensity over the course of a week, or even two, until you’re back up to normal.


Avoid

The midday sun is at its most intense, and temperatures can continue to climb well into the afternoon, so it’s best to schedule your workout times for the mornings or early evenings when the day is usually cooler.

 

Know Your Body

There are many medical conditions that make exercising in hot weather a bad idea, as well, certain medications can make you more susceptible to sunburn and heat – always check with your doctor if you have any doubts. Even athletes at peak fitness levels can get hit with heat exhaustion or sunstroke, so know the signs of when your body has had enough. Any time you have dizziness, rapid heart rate, nausea or headache it’s time to go inside. If you’re feeling muscle cramps, fatigue, or it seems like you’re sweating more than you should be, take a break and decide if it wouldn’t be better to return to the sweet embrace of air-conditioning after all.

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