Smart Ways to Stay Healthy When Exercising in the Summer Heat

When the weather warms up, many of us want to get outside and get moving.  Runners and other athletes train and work out in the outdoors, and plenty of amateurs join them.  But it's important to be safe as you exercise outside when it's hot.

Prevention Is Key

As you get ready for an outdoor workout on a hot summer day, make sure you take some preventative steps.  Here are some things to consider in preventing problems such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration.

1. Don't engage in heavy exercise during the hottest times of the day. Work out in the early mornings or evenings when the sun is low on the horizon (or below it!).

2. Stay hydrated.  Bring plenty of water with you, around 1-2 litres ideally.  If you prefer it, the best sports drink you can make yourself is a litre of water, the juice of half a lemon, a 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, and a tablespoon of raw honey.  Mix well and chill.

3. Know the signs of heat exhaustion.  Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is a much more serious condition.  If you experience any of these signs, get out of the heat immediately and drink copious fluids.  Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Increased sweating
  • Pallor or loss of color
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fainting

4. Have a plan in place before you begin exercising.  Plan the time of day, the length of your workout, and what you will do in case you feel faint or have other signs of heat-induced illness.  Keep a mobile phone handy.  Have a back-up plan, too, in case the weather is too hot.

Don't Overdo It

Be sure to pace yourself.  Don't try to lose weight and tone muscles in a few hours!  Regularity is healthier than severity.  In other words, working out at cooler times of the day for shorter periods is healthier than a four-hour session in the mid-afternoon.

Related post: 10 Fitness Tips for Beginners

Indoor Gymnasiums

You might not be a fan of indoor gyms, preferring to exercise outdoors an get your vitamin N at the same time, but sometimes they do come into their own.  That air conditioning can be just what you need on a hot day!

Sometimes the weather just doesn't permit outdoor exercising, so take the opportunity to use the machines or take some classes, socialise, and then cool off in the indoor pool after without worrying about sunburn.  If you can't exercise at a cool time of day, an indoor gym is a good option.

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