Moving your workout outdoors is great for motivation, but can exercising in high temperatures be bad for your health?
As long as you take some precautions, there is no reason to scrap plans for a workout in the hot weather. Here’s how you can keep up your fitness routine, even on those super hot days!
Hydration is important for your health, and it’s important to drink more water during hot weather. Even mild forms of dehydration can leave you feeling unwell, causing headaches and general fatigue. Drinking water can help control your body temperature and replace some of the fluids lost during exercise.
Sip water gradually before, during and after your workout to help you stay hydrated; don’t wait until you’re thirsty to reach for a water bottle.
Pick the right time of day to exercise
The timing of outdoor workouts is really important during hot weather, as you should be aiming to miss the hottest part of the day. Reduce the risk of overheating by doing more intense workouts either early in the morning or late in the evening. That way you can avoid the sun when UV exposure (and heat in general) is at its highest.
Those black workout clothes are so good at hiding sweat marks but sadly, they are not the best if you’re working out in the sun. Your art teacher was right; darker colours do absorb the light (and heat)! Ditch the ‘all black everything’ and choose lighter colours instead.
Pick lightweight materials for your workout clothes, which allow sweat to evaporate, as this can help reduce the chance of your body overheating. Activewear advertised with words such as breathable or moisture wicking on the label are usually the best to help better control your body temperature.
Even if it’s not the hottest part of the day, protect your skin from UV damage when you’re out exercising as well! Use a high spectrum sunscreen all over to give yourself adequate sun protection. A hat and sunglasses also give you extra protection from sun damage.
Head to the gym or look for areas with shade
While it’s nice to workout outdoors, in really hot weather it may not be practical. When it’s hot, the heat and sun can be reflected off the road, which can make you feel hotter. Try running on grass or in areas where there is shade instead. If you’re lucky enough to be near the beach, running or working out nearby means you might get sea breezes to help keep you cool.
Take time to adjust to the conditions
Starting a new fitness routine in the middle of a heatwave could be setting yourself up for failure. Many health professionals recommend having a moderate level of fitness before exercising in really hot or really humid weather.
For those with a good level of fitness, allow your body to adjust to the warmer weather gradually. Don’t make an overnight switch from running on a treadmill in the air-conditioned gym to running outside on a hot summer’s day. Your body may be working overtime to help you keep cool.
Listen to your body
Even if you take regular water breaks and dress appropriately for the conditions, you can still be at risk of overheating. Listening to your body during a workout is ALWAYS important, and working out in the heat is no different. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated or you are having trouble breathing, stop exercising immediately.
Try following these steps to maintain your fitness this summer, and stay safe! Use your best judgement — if the temp is too high, it might be best to workout indoors.
Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤