11 Tips for Exercising in the Summer Heat.

11 Tips for Exercising in the Summer Heat

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” \
— Jim Rohn

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A beautiful sunny day is the ultimate motivation to go outside and play, but the summer heat and exercise can be a risky combination. Here are some tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe while working out this summer. 

1. Stay hydrated 

Water is your best friend on a hot day for staying hydrated; however, if you’re planning to exercise for more than 60 minutes, you may also want to consider sipping on a sports drinks. 

Sports drinks are important when working out for prolonged periods of time, especially in the heat, because they contain potassium and electrolytes that can rehydrate and replenish your body. The high levels of sodium may actually be good for your body as well as sodium is a key ingredient for a hot day. 

Another great way to help re-hydrate during a pause in your physical activity is to eat a piece of fruit, or even carrots or celery sticks. The fruit and veggies will also help replace valuable electrolyte loss.

As with everything, moderation is key.

2. Wear light clothing

Bright colors are good since they will reflect the sun and also help to make you more visible to oncoming traffic. Cotton is a light-weight and affordable material that can help you to stay dry. 

Dark colors absorb the heat, which can make you feel as if you’re wrapped in a warm blanket. Heavyweight, tight-fitting clothing will also heat you up. Keep it loose. Keep it light. More air will be able to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool.

If you’re willing to splurge a bit more, opt for sweat-wicking shirts and shorts to keep the sweat at bay.

 

3. Avoid the hottest part of the day

Rise early to catch the cool of the morning, or go out at sunset or later. In the heat of midday (typically between 10 am and 4 pm) take cover under shade. Jump in a pool. Sign up for an aqua-aerobics class. And carry a fan/spray bottle for skin surface cooling.

 

4. Be sure to apply sunblock 

UVA/UVB, preferably with titanium or zinc dioxide, or at least with avobenzene.

Reapply at two-hour intervals, even if the labels have sweat proof and water proof claims that are hours longer. Many of these “long-lasting” claims are currently under investigation. Sunburn increases the risk of premature skin aging, and increases your risk of skin cancer. Another good way to decrease sun exposure is to wear wide-brimmed hats.

 

 

5. Don’t drink too much

Drinking too much water, called overhydration, can lead to hyponatremia (low blood sodium). To stay hydrated but not overly so, here is our general guideline: Drink during and after exercise and other physical activities. At other times of the day, drink when thirsty.

The Pritikin Eating Plan provides enough sodium for active individuals and also provides at least half of the water your body needs.

 

6. Take it indoors

There’s nothing wrong with working out indoors at your local gym or even in your home if you have equipment. On days when there is an excessive heat warning, this can be your best decision to stay cool and avoid a heat-related injury while still getting in your workout.

 

Take it Indoors (1)

7. Don’t fear the water

Summer is the perfect time to make water your friend. On especially hot days, try adding a water activity to your workout such as swimming, surfing or Stand-Up-Paddle Boarding (SUP). These activities will help you to stay fit and healthy in the summer in a fun and new way while also staying cool. Who knows, you may end up finding a new favorite exercise.

Swimming is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. A 150-pound swimmer can use approximately 400 calories in an hour while stroking at a moderate pace. At a vigorous pace, you can burn up to 700 calories in 60 minutes.

Water also offers natural resistance, which can help strengthen your muscles. Aquatic exercise can also have several health benefits, such as improved heart health, reduced stress, and improved muscular endurance and strength.

8. Keep track of your hydration levels

A good way to know that you’re hydrating properly is by checking the color of your urine. If it’s pale yellow (think lemonade), you’re well hydrated. If it’s darker (heading toward the color of apple juice), drink more.

But do be aware that some medications and supplements alter the color of urine, so this gauge, while good for many, does not work for everyone. To be safe, do drink the recommended 8 to 10 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of activity.

Don’t fear the water

9. Never let yourself get to the point where you’re feeling faint, dizzy or sick.

Sure, it kills you not to finish your four-mile workout. May I be so blunt as to suggest that it may kill you if you try. Paid heed to the heat. Listen to your body. If you’re feeling any of the following, find air-conditioned comfort fast.

  • Weakness
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness/Paling of the skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat

Always remember that even a 20-minute workout has positive health effects. It’s the number of days you exercise that matters most, not the length of time of any given exercise session.

10. If you are feeling faint and/or sick, stop immediately

Sit down in the shade, drink water, and always have with you a nourishing snack. Pick juicy snacks like fruit. The last thing you need in scorching heat are dry snacks like crackers, popcorn, or energy bars that require your body to add water. Plus, dry snacks are often dense with calories, which mean they can easily foil weight-loss goals, summer or winter. 

 

11. Know the symptoms of heat stroke

Heat stroke is a serious threat that can be fatal. Symptoms include:

  • High body temperature (104 F or 40 C or higher)
  • ABSENCE OF SWEATING with hot, flushed, or red/dry skin
  • Rapid pulse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Strange behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • And, if untreated, death

Sometimes there is little warning, especially among athletes training in hot, humid conditions, and among children and the elderly. Do not leave the young and frail (or anyone, for that matter, including your pets) unattended inside a hot car.

If you suspect that you or others are suffering heat stroke, call 911 immediately.