Summer is here again. This means that most people are clamoring to get outdoors, hit the pool, hike the trails, ride their favorite bike paths, walk the local park and do pretty much anything else that will get them some fresh air, sunshine and exercise.
However, the heat can be a considerable opponent when the mercury rises. Which means that you need to be careful and take precautions to avoid the various heat-related illnesses that could impede your summertime fun.
While lots of water and convenient, taste-free electrolyte pills will go a long way toward keeping you safe, there are some other tactics you will want to keep in mind while working out in the sun.
Here are some essential summertime workout strategies:
1. Take Cold Showers
Before you head out into the heat, take a cold shower. Not only are there many health benefits associated with taking cold showers, but this will help you to keep cool for a bit longer, especially if you let your hair air dry.
2. Stay Inside During the Hottest Part of the Day
It is fine to get outside and exercise during the summer. However, when the day is at its hottest (generally between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.), it is advisable to stay indoors when you can.
This means that you should schedule your summertime workouts when it is cooler out, such as in the early morning or in the evening.
3. Drink Lots of Water
Hydration is critical during the summer months. This means that it is wise to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you travel, especially if you will be exercising.
Moreover, it is important to create a hydration plan for the morning, afternoon and night that also takes your workout routine into account.
Given how dangerous dehydration can be, it is vital to keep your fluids topped off when the temperature rises.
4. Ditch the Sports Drinks
Many folks turn to commercial sports drinks during the summertime, as they often boast of their rehydrating qualities thanks to their electrolyte content.
However, while electrolytes are essential to replace and sports drinks do contain them, they also contain gobs of sugar and a variety of chemicals and artificial ingredients. Thus, sports drinks are far from the best option when it comes to staying well hydrated.
That said, you will still need to replace the electrolytes you lose via sweat and urination. Thus, instead of grabbing a sports drink, you will want to pick up a sugar-free electrolyte powder to mix into your water. You can also choose to integrate a variety of electrolyte-rich foods into your diet.
At the same time, you will want to avoid drinks that dehydrate you, such as the panoply of sugary beverages on the market, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and the like.
5. Wear Light-Colored Clothes
If you are unaware, dark colors absorb heat. Therefore, wearing them in the summertime is going to contribute to increasing your body temperature, thus increasing your sweat and dehydrating you.
This means that, during the summer months, you will want to wear light clothing in both color and weight.
By keeping it light, you will be able to keep air circulating, thereby helping to keep you cool.
6. Wear Sunscreen
If you are going to be exercising outside in the summer, you need to protect yourself from the sun. Given that you will probably be wearing minimal clothing, it is necessary to slather yourself with a generous dose of high-SPF sunscreen to avoid getting burned.
7. Hit the Gym
While there is indeed a strong pull to exercise outside during the summer, you may want to consider taking your routine indoors, particularly if it is scheduled for the hottest part of the day or you are feeling off due to the heat. Symptoms might include dizziness, nausea, cramps and similar signals.
In either of these situations, it is best to head to the gym instead of the park for the afternoon. Sometimes getting into some cool air conditioning is necessary when it is hot outside.
8. Start a Bit Slower
During the summer, it is important to understand that your body needs to adjust to the heat, to which it is not accustomed. There are several implications to this statement.
First, as discussed early, it is wise to workout when it is not as hot outside, such as in the morning. Second, you will want to dial back your exercise intensity for the first few weeks of summer. During that time, your body will start to get used to the heat and regulate itself more effectively.
Therefore, during the first few weeks of summer, don’t worry so much about pushing as hard as you can when exercising. Instead, give your body a bit of a break.
Working Out in the Summer
Most people want to get outside in the summer to exercise and have fun. While this is perfectly fine, there are precautions you must take to ensure that you remain safe in the heat.
Utilize the tips outlined above, and you are sure to have an active summer, free from heat-related harm.