5 Tips for Hot Weather ExerciseArticle posted in: Fitness
If you typically exercise indoors, hot summer weather may just offer the variety and recharge your body needs. According to the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, exercising outdoors has just as many benefits for your body as it does your mind: decreasing stress and anxiety, improving sleep and increasing happiness.
Summertime offers a plethora of outdoor workouts: hiking, biking, running, walking, surfing, rollerblading, swimming and many more. If you usually enjoy exercising on an inclined treadmill or elliptical walker, then taking your workout outside can alleviate the strain mentally and physically. According to Shape.com, Martin Niedermeier, Ph.D., a sport science professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, attributes the feel-good benefits of outdoor exercise to the pairing of exercise and nature. “The physical activity is invigorating while seeing nature relieves stress,” says Shape.com.
With all of this being said, you have to remain conscientious to the fact that hot weather can put extra stress on your body. If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, it can have poor results. Therefore, we have rounded up five tips to consider before moving your workout from the air conditioning to the summer heat.
Make the most out of your summer workouts! Here are five tips for exercising in hot weather:
1. Wear Breathable Clothing
Lightweight and sweat-wicking clothing helps your sweat quickly evaporate, keeping you cooler longer. According to Shape.com, Michele Olson, Ph.D., exercise science professor at Auburn University Montgomery, advises this type of clothing to also avoid skin irritation, breakouts and heat rashes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also suggests selecting light-colored clothing and avoiding darker apparel. When shopping for your workout gear, these “sweat-wicking” fabrics will most likely be noted on the tag or label.
2. Stay Hydrated
If you’re on the South Beach Diet, you know that staying hydrated is essential to health and wellness. On our meal plan, we recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces of fluid each day. However, please note that this is just a recommendation and you may need more or less fluid based on your activity level or other factors. Speak to your doctor to ensure you are hydrating properly for your specific needs. When it comes to exercising outside in the heat, you may need to increase your intake. John Hopkins Medicine recommends drinking at least a pint of water before your outdoor workout in the heat. You should also continue to drink water during and after your workout.
Why is staying hydrated so important? From headaches to exhaustion, there are many side effects of dehydration. Learn more about the signs here. >
Looking for some more ways to stay hydrated in the summer heat? Boost your hydration with these five tips, then check out these other hydration tricks that were specifically created for hot weather. >
3. Check the Clock
Really consider the time of day. When doing an outdoor workout, avoid doing it on your lunchbreak. You should choose a time that avoids the midday sun, when the sun and its residual heat are at peak performance. This will limit heat exposure. “Exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas, or do a water workout in a pool,” says Mayo Clinic. Head out first thing in the morning for a refreshing A.M. stroll or get moving just before dusk when the sun isn’t directly over your head.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also explains the dangers of exercising in hot, humid weather. “Your body cools itself by sweating, but cooling down is harder in humid weather because perspiration doesn’t evaporate as quickly from your skin. Your heart rate rises as your body works hard to keep its cool.” They recommend cutting back on your workout if the temp or humidity is high. “People with larger bodies, the elderly, kids and those not accustomed to rigorous exercise should be extremely cautious in hot weather,” they explain.
4. Wear Sunscreen
This is something you should do every single day, but it would be particularly counter-productive to exercise your body and overlook the health of your body’s largest organ. Limit your risk of painful sunburn and skin cancer while also improving your body’s overall wellness. “A sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself and increases the risk of skin cancer,” says Mayo Clinic. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends choosing a sunscreen that is water-resistant and at least SPF 30.
With so many options available, choosing the best sunscreen for you can be confusing. That’s why we spoke directly with a dermatologist get some expert tips for sunscreen shopping! Check out our simple guide for selecting your sunscreen here. >
5. Pay Attention
Moving your regular workout from inside a conditioned environment to an outdoor setting is a big change! It can affect the way your body responds to strain and challenges. According to Shape.com, Kim Truman, a certified personal trainer, emphasizes listening to your own body. Pay attention and be aware of dizziness, nausea, breathing problems and cold or clamminess. Stop immediately if you experience any of these symptoms, says Truman. You never want exercise to do more harm than good! Shape.com recommends keeping your cell phone with you at all times, just in case you need to reach out for help.
So, as you get outside and take in the fresh air (hopefully not during the sun’s peak hours), keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your outdoor workout! And if you just so happened to stumble across this article in the middle of winter, make sure to check out these Five Tips for Cold Weather Workouts! >
*Always speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.