With summer temperatures heating up, many people are happy to be able to shed their winter clothes – and their winter weight – and get outside for some exercise. It’s certainly true that exercising outdoors is more fun in the warmer months, and that all that extra exercise is great for your body and your mind. However, there’s one thing to be careful about when you’re working up a sweat: the heat itself. When you work out in scorching heat, your body temperature can rise significantly, even if you’re in the shade. Never fear – you can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and still stay safe with these tips for summertime workouts.
Get the Timing Right
If at all possible, avoid scheduling your exercise in the middle of the day, when the sun is high and the temperatures skyrocket. For example, you could practice yoga in the early morning as the sun rises – a beautiful way to start your day. Or, go for a jog after dinner, when the sun has begun to sink. If you can, try to choose a shady spot to exercise. Whatever you do, avoid prolonged workouts in the blazing sun, which will dramatically increase your risk of heat exhaustion.
Most of the time, you can drink when you’re thirsty, and you’ll be fine. When you’re working out in the heat, though, you need to be a little more proactive about hydration. Don’t wait for your body to display signs of needing more water. Drink some water before you start your workout, and continue to drink water throughout (a good rule of thumb is eight ounces for every 20 minutes of activity). Keep an eye on your urine, too – it should be pale yellow to nearly clear. If it’s darker than normal, you need more fluids.
…and Stay Wet
Keeping yourself wet is a highly effective way to avoid becoming overheated. There are lots of ways to enjoy a wet workout. The sunny season is the perfect time to take advantage of the wide variety of water workouts available, including swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing, surfing, water aerobics, and more. All of these activities keep your body temperature down while giving you a great workout in the sunshine. You can also carry a little extra water with you on your walk or run to pour over the back of your neck for a refreshing cool-down when you need it. And, of course, you can always run in the rain for a fun and social-media-worthy workout.
Listen to Your Body
The symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling dizzy, cold, clammy, or nauseous, as well as having a headache or vomiting while you exercise or after you’re done. If you start to notice even a hint of these symptoms, it’s time to take a break in the shade. In fact, when you’re exercising in the sun, any unusual or uncomfortable feelings you have in your body should alert you to the fact that you need to cool off. Get out of the sun, sit down, drink some water, and catch your breath. Pay attention to your body at all times – it’s usually pretty good at telling you what it needs.
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