Stay healthy when breaking a sweat in summer with these tips and precautions.
It can be fun to get outside in the heat, but there are a few special considerations to factor into your workouts. Along with the elevated temperatures come elevated risks for things like dehydration and overheating. The following tips on how to safely exercise in the heat can give you a head start. Keep in mind that it’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any new regimen, especially in the summer weather.
- Hydration, hydration, hydration
- Wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing
- Avoid peak sun hours
- Protect yourself with sunscreen and insect repellent
- Choose a shorter workout or take breaks
- Learn the warning symptoms of heat illness
See more details on how to safely exercise in the summer heat below.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
When you’re losing water through sweat, it’s essential to replenish your body’s fluids. Make sure to follow summer hydration tips like having a reusable bottle on hand, limiting caffeine, and drinking enough water before, during, and after your workout. Don’t wait until you’re excessively thirsty to drink – keep your body replenished.
Wear breathable, moisture-wicking clothing
There are many activewear brands and fabrics that will come in handy for safely exercising in the heat. In general, a breathable synthetic fabric containing polypropylene will be the best choice to wick sweat away and keep you cool. Avoid cotton, which absorbs sweat and is slow to dry.
Avoid peak sun hours
The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To limit your exposure to these rays, skip the peak temperatures of the day and try to plan a morning or evening workout. Sunrise yoga or sunset bike ride, anyone?
Protect yourself with sunscreen and insect repellent
Even if you’re not outside during peak sun hours, it’s smart to protect your skin with sunscreen whenever the sun is visible in the sky. Another tip on how to safely exercise in the heat is to use a repellent spray to keep away pests like mosquitos and ticks if you are in insect-prone areas.
Choose a shorter workout or take breaks
The longer you spend exercising, the more your body will heat up and sweat. Instead of pushing yourself through a long session, listen to your body. Take a break to catch your breath and cool down when you need to, or plan for lower-intensity exercise on hot days, like swimming or an easy walk.
Learn the warning symptoms of heat illness
Stay in touch with how you feel, so you don’t find yourself on the brink of heat exhaustion. Warning signs of heat illness can include muscle cramps, weakness, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and more. If you have any of these symptoms, stop what you’re doing, take steps to lower your temperature, and seek further care if needed. You should also ask your doctor whether any medications put you at a higher risk of heat illness, in case you need to be extra vigilant.
Now that you’re prepared with knowledge on how to safely exercise in the heat, you’re all set to head out and enjoy your favorite summer activities. To learn more about fitness and seasonal safety, check out more summer weather safety tips and other health and wellness articles on our blog.