5 Tips to Easily Increase Your Safety While Exercising in the Heat
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When summer is in full swing, we need to be aware of heat-related illnesses and injuries and how hot weather can affect our bodies. These types of injuries can become a serious danger to all of us, especially to those exercising or spending a lot of time outdoors. With warmer weather and sunny days, it’s tempting to take our exercises outside. But that also means we may be more susceptible to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke (also known as sunstroke). Below are 5 tips that will help you to be smart with your body this summer while exercising in the heat.
When exercising during hot and humid temperatures during the summer, it’s imperative for you to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is the easiest way to keep your body hydrated and functioning at its highest levels.
But did you know you can also get water from the foods you eat? Fruit is made up of a high percentage of water. For example, watermelon has a water content of 92% and a one cup serving contains over a half cup of water! Adding more fruit into your diet, especially right before long or strenuous workouts can help keep you from becoming dehydrated.
Try to stay away from drinks that have caffeine or alcohol because they may cause you to become more dehydrated. This includes coffee, tea, and soda.
Many people turn to sports drinks to replenish fluids and electrolytes that your body loses while exercising in the heat. However, most people don’t work hard enough or lose enough fluid to warrant needing drinks with added carbs and sugars. If you do drink them, I recommend using sports drinks in moderation and looking for ones that are lower in calories and not overly concentrated with sugar.
One supplement that you might want to consider is called Hydrate. It has no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and no preservatives but has the right balance of carbs, electrolytes, and water that your body needs. Learn more about how Hydrate is different from other “sports drinks” in this short video.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
Check the weather forecast and choose the best time of the day to get your workout done so you can avoid exercising in the heat. Aim for early mornings or after the sun goes down at night when the heat index is lower. You want to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun during peak times, from 10 am to 2 pm. By avoiding outdoor exercise when the sun is the hottest, it can help reduce the chances that you’ll end up suffering from heat-related illnesses.
Choose the Right Gear
Wearing loose fitting clothes that are light in color to help reflect the sun rays is important when trying to stay safe this summer. You can also wear a light shirt with long sleeves or long pants to block the sun from damaging your skin. Many clothing companies now offer moisture-wicking materials that are breathable and move (or wick) the sweat away from your skin to keep you cooler.
A couple of recommendations for lightweight, yet UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rated pieces of clothing that you can wear while exercising in the heat and not getting too hot include:
Brooks Greenlight Capri Tights
And if you are planning to be out in the water doing an activity like kayaking, canoeing, or snorkeling, don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun. This long-sleeved rashguard will help protect your skin.
NRS H2Core Silkweight Long-Sleeve Shirt
Also, be sure to wear a hat to protect your face, ears, and neck from the sun. REI has a number of sun protection buffs and hats that have a UPF rating greater than 15. And don’t forget those sunglasses to protect your eyes! Look for sunglasses that have UVA/UVA protection and are made for sports.
When preparing to exercise outside, it’s important to use a high-quality, water-resistance, sweat-proof sunscreen. You want to have proper protection from the sun, so make sure to choose a sunscreen that is long-lasting and at least SPF 15.
All Good Sport Sunscreen is a great choice and can be found at Target at a reasonable price. It has a rating of 30 SPF and is water and sweat resistant for 80 minutes.
Listen to your Body When Exercising in the Heat
I tell my clients this all the time – Listen to Your Body! Yes, we all want to try and push our bodies so we can lose weight, make gains, and get stronger. But we cannot ignore warning signs from our bodies that we need to take a break.
If you start to feel lightheaded, have a rapid heartbeat, have a high temperature, are feeling flushed, and fatigued – stop exercising and get into the shade or an air-conditioned space immediately. Sit down, drink some water, elevate your feet above your head, and if you can, put cool, wet cloths or cold water on your skin. Call or tell someone near you what is happening and get assistance.
You can read more from the University of Rochester Medical Center about heat-related illnesses, their symptoms and what immediate actions you should take to treat them.
Staying Safe While Exercising in the Heat
No matter how bad we want to stay on track and workout, we need to listen to what our bodies are telling us instead of trying to push through extreme measures. These 5 tips can help you stay safe and help prevent heat-related illnesses during the hot summer weather.
Have any other tips on staying cool and safe during your summer workouts? Please comment and share below!
Want more tips like these? Keep reading related posts:
What to Wear for Gym Workouts
4 Ways to Start a Workout Routine – and actually, stick to it!
A Beginner’s Guide to Working Out