Summer heat and exercise can be a risky combination if you don’t take precautions. Enjoy a beautiful sunny day and fresh air while safely exercising in the heat with these tips:
- Start early – avoid the hottest part of the day (between 10am and 4pm) by rising early for your workout or go out at sunset or later,
- Wear light colors – dark colors absorb heat, which can make you feel hot. Keep clothing light colored and lightweight to allow more air to circulate over your skin which will keep you cooler.
- Apply sunblock – look for products with UVA/UVB protection, preferably with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Reapply at two-hour intervals and after swimming.
- Lower the intensity – ease up on your pace when starting out and as your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the pace and duration if you feel ok.
- Hydrate – exercising in hot weather increases body temperature and ups the sweat factor both of which can slow the body’s natural cooling system if exposed to high temperatures for too long. Aim to consume 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes during exercise.
- Rehydrate – after exercising in the heat replenish your body with water and look for fruit and vegetables like watermelon, bananas, oranges, broccoli, spinach or coconut water with natural electrolyte replacement. Avoid alcohol and caffeine post exercise until fully rehydrated.
- Track your hydration – a good way to know that you’re hydrated properly is to check the color of your urine. If it’s pale yellow (like lemonade), you’re well hydrated. If it’s darker (like apple juice), grab some water.
- Be aware of the early signs of danger – Listen to your body and respect the heat, even if your workout has to be cut short or deferred to another day. Learn the symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do if you or others show signs of suffering.