Many people prefer to work out outdoors during the summer, instead of being stuck inside on a treadmill or at the gym. Running, biking, tennis, yoga, and other workouts are more enjoyable in the sun and fresh air. But these activities may also be harder on your body and even dangerous if you aren’t careful.
5 Tips for Safe Summer Workouts
Keep these tips in mind so you stay safer when working out in summer heat.
Schedule Your Workout Around the Weather
Plan to be active during the early morning or evening hours when temperatures are typically cooler. Consider bringing your workout indoors if there are:
- Excessive heat warnings
- High humidity levels
- Poor air quality alerts
Workouts can feel more challenging when it’s hot and humid. But they're also harder on your body and can even become dangerous. If you stay outdoors, it may be a good idea to scale back the duration and intensity of your workout.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
No matter what type of activity you do, make sure you are well-hydrated. Water is best, because your body's tissues can absorb it quickly. But water-rich fruits and vegetables also count towards your overall fluid intake. Try:
In extreme heat or during activity that lasts more than an hour, consider a sports drink that contains electrolytes to help your body refuel and rehydrate more efficiently.
Gear Up Properly
Wearing the right gear for the weather is just as important as hydrating right. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will keep you cooler than darker, heavy, or tight-fitting clothes. Also, opt for sweat-wicking performance fabrics rather than cotton. If it’s sunny out, wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a hat to shield your face from the sun.
Sunny or not, lather up with a water-resistant sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher. Your body has a harder time cooling down if you have a sunburn.
Stay Cool While You Refuel
After your workout, help your body cool down by refueling with refreshing foods and drinks like these:
- Fruit smoothies
- Whole fruit popsicles or frozen fruit
- Cold vegetable salads
- Yogurt parfaits
- Raw veggies and hummus or dip
Unsure About Summer Workouts?
The heat can take a toll on your body. Ask your provider how you can exercise safely.
Watch for Warning Signs
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you replace. Even mild dehydration can make you feel poorly and increase your risk of more serious heat-related problems. Know the signs of dehydration and take immediate action to seek shade, rest, and hydrate if you begin to experience any of them.
Signs of mild dehydration include:
- Dry or sticky mouth
- Dry, cool skin
- Muscle cramps
- Dark urine
Moderate to severe dehydration symptoms include:
- Not urinating or very dark-colored urine
- Dry, shriveled skin
- Irritability or confusion
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Breathing rapidly
- Fatigue or listlessness
Taking your summer workout outdoors can breathe new life into your fitness routine. But although the change in scenery may do you good, follow these commonsense practices so you stay safe and healthy when temps and humidity soar.
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