No one wants to change their outdoor exercise routine just because summer’s here, but when the thermometer tops ninety degrees and the humidity is so thick that it feels like you’re walking through soup, it can be dangerous to push your limits. So before you strap on your exercise monitoring device and head out to get sweaty, check out these nine safe ways to exercise in the summer heat.
Timing Is Everything
It’s hard to break old habits, but if you usually run a few miles during your lunch hour, you may want to make a change in deference to the weather. In the hot, muggy days of July, it’s a smart move to run in the early-morning or early-evening hours, when the sun is closer to the horizon and not blasting as much heat.
Dress For Success
High summer is not the time to wrap yourself tight and “sweat it off.” Be sure to wear lightweight, pale-colored clothing, preferably made of a fabric that offers a wicking effect to keep you cool, and loose enough to allow air to circulate.
Take It Easy
If you’re on a rigid schedule to get fit, and you’re determined to increase the intensity of your workouts, consider doing at least a portion of them inside an air-conditioned gym. Try a rowing machine, an elliptical, or add indoor strength training to the mix.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
If your workout mostly consists of walking, jogging, or biking outside, consider trying out something new during the dog days of August. Swimming laps in an outdoor pool will exercise muscles you don’t usually use, and an indoor yoga or Zumba class will keep you flexible and fit.
Change The Scenery
If your usual three-mile jog takes you over hardtop exposed to the full force of the sun, consider switching your path for something shadier, like a graveled trail through a nature reserve or a tree-lined path in a local park.
Have A Drink
Of water, of course. Exercise makes you sweat, and so does heat and humidity, so your body loses more fluids during heat waves. Drink plenty of water before and after your workout to avoid the dangers of dehydration.
Slather The Sunscreen
It doesn’t take a lot of summer sun to burn your skin and increase your long-term risk of skin cancer. Always lather on a hardy sport sunscreen with a high SPF before you venture into the outdoors.
Have you ever jogged in the rain? You may find it refreshing, so long as there’s no thunder or lightning. Taking a dip in a pool or through a sprinkler right before starting your outdoor workout can also help, as the water on your skin and hair will evaporate, wicking off heat, during exercise.
Knowledge Is Power
If, during your outdoor workouts, you get cramps, or feel tired, dizzy, nauseous, weak, or disoriented, it’s time to STOP. Especially during the summer, it’s wise to avoid mistaking the first symptoms of dehydration or heat stroke for athletic resistance. Heat stroke can be fatal, so respecting the signs can save your life.